The Science of Climate Change: High School Experiential Science Unit or Course

Experiential Learning Depot
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Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Standards
Formats Included
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  • Activity
Pages
~150
$53.10
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$53.10
Bundle
List Price:
$59.00
You Save:
$5.90
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Experiential Learning Depot
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Easel Activities Included
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Description

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 change unit or course that is aligned with NGSS with little preparation on your part? Then this experiential science bundle is for you.

Each high school climate change resource included is inquiry-based in some way or another, involving students in the learning experience rather than telling them what to learn and how to learn it. That is important, in my opinion when it comes to topics like climate change.

The bundle includes project-based learning, problem-based learning, community action projects, scientific open inquiry experimentation, inquiry stations, and design thinking, keeping students engaged in deep and meaningful learning experiences around the often abstract concepts related to climate change.

Bundle Includes

***The high school climate change activities in this bundle are best delivered in the order listed here. Most of the resources include printable and digital versions.***

1) Energy Budget Open Inquiry Experimentation - Students learn about the concepts behind the energy budget, incoming and outgoing solar radiation, through the process of asking their own questions, and designing and executing their own experiments to construct an understanding of the energy budget.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher guide - background information on the solar energy budget as it relates to climate, implementation guide, introduction/discussion guide
  2. Brainstorming activity
  3. Investigation planner guide/organizer
  4. Reflection guide

2) Energy Budget Formative Assessment Maker Challenge - This resource helps students actively demonstrate an understanding of the energy budget and how it applies to the mechanisms behind climate.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher guide
  2. Student guide
  • Exploration and brainstorming guide sheet
  • Prototype template
  • Reflection questions
  • Project Rubric

3) Atmospheric Circulation Maker Stations - Students explore the forces at work as they apply to atmospheric circulation and its role in the global climate. Students make models that reflect or demonstrate the Coriolis effect, Hadley cells, Ferrel cells, and polar cells. Each of these circulation concepts is explained in the resource for both teachers and students to reference.

This resource includes:

  1. A teacher guide for each station and final project
  2. Description/instructions for each station
  3. Prototype template for each station
  4. Final project reflection
  5. Final project rubric

4) The Ocean and Global Climate Inquiry Stations - Students will go through a series of mapping stations to gain a better understanding of the ocean's influence on the global climate. Students will develop maps of surface water salinity, surface and boundary currents, and the global ocean conveyor system from an inquiry-based learning approach.

This resource includes:

  1. Pre-activity introduction
  2. Teacher guide for each station
  3. 3 Inquiry Stations:  Each station includes a map template and station instructions.
  4. Post-activity discussion questions
  5. Post-activity challenge/formative assessment
  6. Reflection guide

5) Climate Drivers Digital Inquiry Activity - Students make predictions about timescales and radiative forcings as they relate to a variety of climate drivers; natural and anthropogenic. They will then research/investigate the climate drivers using the templates provided as their guide.

This resource includes:

  1. Activity introduction/background information
  2. Student guide/templates
  3. Digital/printable inquiry activity
  4. Formative assessment
  5. Reflection/discussion

Note: The digital version of this resource is ideal. There is a printable version, however. The digital version uses Google Apps.

6) Feedback Loops Guided Project Based Learning - The purpose of this resource is to help students grasp the concept of climate feedbacks by engaging in real-world, authentic learning experiences. Students will choose climate feedbacks to study, locate a scientist that has or is currently conducting research on that feedback, interview that scientist, and report on their interview from a project-based learning approach.

This resource includes:

  1. Introduction/background info on climate feedbacks and project-based learning
  2. Project-based learning guiding templates
  3. Project reflection
  4. Project rubric

7) Carbon Cycle Disrupters Problem-Based Learning Activity - Students examine the short- and long-term carbon cycles. They then research the issue of anthropogenic activities that disrupt the carbon cycle, and develop a comprehensive plan with a diverse set of solutions to restore the balance of the cycles.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher guide
  2. Student guide
  • Carbon cycle overview
  • Description of the carbon cycle disruptors
  • Inquiry activity to learn about the details of each carbon cycle
  • Research planner
  • Solutions exploration guide
  • Presentation Outline
  • Reflection

3. Rubric and inquiry activity answer key - a guide of possible student responses.
Note: Because this is an inquiry activity, and there are several routes a carbon atom
could take through the system, there will not be one correct answer.

8) Greenhouse Gases Self-Directed Project-Based Learning - Students will choose a greenhouse gas to study, design a project-based learning experience around that topic, and use the templates included to execute the experience.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher and student guides
  2. Introductory activity
  3. Greenhouse effect background information
  4. Project-based learning checklist
  5. Project planner
  6. Research guide
  7. "Challenge Yourself" extension options
  8. Project rubric
  9. Project reflection guide

9) Evidence of Climate Change Claim Evidence and Reasoning Activity - Students will look at evidence of climate change and real climate models. They will make a claim, locate and analyze evidence, and use that evidence to justify their claim.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher guide
  2. Two CER Activities: Each includes a research template, CER template, and final argument template. Students gather evidence in regards to claims made about whether the climate is changing and if changes are due to anthropogenic activities.
  3. Learning reflection questions
  4. Claim evidence and reasoning rubric

10) Consequences of Climate Change - Students take a problem-based learning approach to learning about climate consequences. Students choose one community, research the impacts of climate change on that community, explore and brainstorm solutions, and develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate the consequences of climate change in that community.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher guide
  2. Student challenge description
  3. Research templates with scaffolding questions related to climate change consequences
  4. Solution brainstorming tools including solution research categories, a template for weighing the costs and benefits of solutions, and a solutions concept map
  5. A comprehensive solution plan (final product) proposal checklist
  6. Learning reflection questions
  7. Problem-based learning rubric

11) Renewable Energy Guided Project-Based Learning - Each student or pair of students chooses one renewable energy source to explore such as solar energy, wind power, geothermal, etc. They then research that renewable energy with the purpose of providing guiding materials to home and business owners looking to transition their homes or businesses to renewable energy.

This resource includes:

  1. Teacher guide
  2. Introduction/background info on renewable energy and biotechnology as it relates to climate change
  3. PBL project checklist
  4. Guiding templates and planners
  5. Project learning reflection questions
  6. Project based learning rubric

12) Our Climate Future Community Action Project - This resource is a great way to wrap up the unit. Students use everything they have learned about the science of climate change up to this point to give back, serve, or take action as it relates to our climate future.

This resource includes:

  • Teacher guide
  • Project topic brainstorming activities - mind map & current events activity
  • Two project proposal templates (1 - research the issue, 2- take action)
  • Exploring solutions brainstorming guide
  • Project Rubric 1: teacher-created rubric for project part 1 - researching the issue
  • Project Rubric 2: student-generated rubric template for project part 2 - taking action
  • Category and levels of mastery word banks for student-generated rubrics
  • Daily check-in form
  • Project reflection guide sheet.

13) Bonus Resource: Climate and Culture Self-Directed Project Based Learning - Students take a self-directed project-based learning approach to better understand how climate influences human cultures.

Important Note:

Teachers often ask me whether my climate change resources are "objective". My climate change resources teach about the science of climate change; how climate change works.

With that said, this unit is about climate change. The resources, therefore, acknowledge topics such as the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gas emissions. There is an overwhelming agreement in the scientific community that greenhouse gases influence the global climate and that the bulk of those emissions are anthropogenic. That idea is present in this unit.

If you like this resource, check out these other experiential science activities from Experiential Learning Depot:

Take a look at these relevant free resources:

Helpful Blog Posts:

Helpful/Related Videos:

  • Tutorial for Creating a Map for Renewable Energy Project (resource included in this bundle)
  • Thermohaline Circulation Demo - This demo was created for students to watch. You could instead watch it yourself for inspiration and then do your own demo live for your students. This will give students more time to wrestle with the ideas rather than have me tell them immediately in the video. Thermohaline circulation is related to the ocean inquiry station product included in this resource.

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

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Cover Font Credit: Mr. FISK Fonts

Total Pages
~150
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
Other
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Standards

to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

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