High School Climate Change: Energy Budget Experimental Inquiry Lab

Rated 5 out of 5, based on 1 reviews
1 Rating
Experiential Learning Depot
Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
13 pages
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Experiential Learning Depot
Easel Activity Included
This resource includes a ready-to-use interactive activity students can complete on any device.  Easel by TPT is free to use! Learn more.
Also included in
  1. This bundle is a great opener to a larger unit on the science of climate change, which focuses specifically on NGSS ESS2-4 - Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of the Earth’s systems results in changes in climate.This bundle includes two student-directed resour
    Price $6.80Original Price $8.50Save $1.70
  2. How does climate work? The science of weather and climate can be abstract for students and daunting for teachers, but not with this bundle filled with experiential learning activities that engage learners inquiry! Experiential learning brings real-world, hands-on, inquiry-based, student-centered lea
    Price $16.40Original Price $20.50Save $4.10
  3. Are you teaching high school climate change this year and are looking for a full climate change unit or course that is scientifically based? Are you looking for lesson plans for climate change that are hands-on, real-world, and inquiry-based? Are you hoping to teach an entire high school climate cha
    Price $53.10Original Price $59.00Save $5.90


If you're looking into getting started with a high school unit on the science of climate change, and you want that start to be student-centered and inquiry-based, this is your resource! This resource is an energy budget experimental inquiry lab designed for open-ended experimentation on the concept of the energy budget as it relates to climate.

Students will investigate the global energy budget - the flow of solar energy through the Earth's systems - and how factors associated with the energy budget impact shifts in the climate. They will do this through student-led experimentation. Students will make observations about the distribution of solar energy, drawing on experience and analysis of an energy budget graphic.

Students will develop their own questions about the energy budget, design their own experiments to test their questions, analyze their results, and draw conclusions based on results and additional research. Students will direct the inquiry experience, which you will facilitate. Modification options for beginner inquiry-based learners are included in the teacher guide of the resource.

Student-led open inquiry, in theory, is appropriate for all skill levels because it is personalized. Students ask their own questions and design their own investigations. With that said, having some experience with experimental design is helpful because the resource does not include experimental design instructions such as how to ask a testable question, collect data, and analyze results. If you are looking for an introduction to experimental design resource, click on the link.

Teachers will need to provide various materials for experiments. All materials included in this resource are suggestions. You will need a source of energy, ideally the sun. I highly recommend doing this activity outdoors on a sunny, dry day. Prep includes gathering and setting up lab materials and printing and distributing copies of templates included in the resource.

NGSS: ESS2-4. - Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of the Earth’s systems results in changes in climate.

This energy budget experimental design resource includes a printable PDF and digital Google Slides option. Neither are editable at this time.

This product includes:

  1. Teacher guide - background information on the solar energy budget as it relates to climate, an implementation guide, and an introduction/group discussion guide
  2. Experimental design templates
  3. Reflection guide
  4. Experimental inquiry rubric

If you like this resource, check out these student-directed products as well!

Check out these blog posts on inquiry-based learning:

Interested in new resource alerts, freebies, tips, tricks, and more?

Earn TPT Credits:

Follow Experiential Learning Depot and earn TpT credits by giving feedback on this product. A sincere thank you for your business. Feel free to contact me through email at any time with questions on this product - experientiallearningdepot@gmail.com

Cover Font Credit: Mr. FISK Fonts

Total Pages
13 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
3 hours
Report this resource to TpT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TpT’s content guidelines.


to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate. Examples of the causes of climate change differ by timescale, over 1-10 years: large volcanic eruption, ocean circulation; 10-100s of years: changes in human activity, ocean circulation, solar output; 10-100s of thousands of years: changes to Earth's orbit and the orientation of its axis; and 10-100s of millions of years: long-term changes in atmospheric composition. Assessment of the results of changes in climate is limited to changes in surface temperatures, precipitation patterns, glacial ice volumes, sea levels, and biosphere distribution.
Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems. Examples should include climate feedbacks, such as how an increase in greenhouse gases causes a rise in global temperatures that melts glacial ice, which reduces the amount of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface, increasing surface temperatures and further reducing the amount of ice. Examples could also be taken from other system interactions, such as how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion; how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion; or how the loss of wetlands causes a decrease in local humidity that further reduces the wetland extent.


Questions & Answers

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up