Students are introduced to the concept of energy cycles by learning about the carbon cycle. They will learn how carbon atoms travel through the geological (ancient) carbon cycle and the biological/physical carbon cycle. Students will consider how human activities have disturbed the carbon cycle by emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They will discuss how engineers and scientists are working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Lastly, students will consider how they can help the world through simple energy conservation measures.
The Washington State Legislature has invested $16 million in climate science education since 2018. This portal contains links to professional learning resources and instructional materials developed by the ClimeTime network of educational partners who came together as a result of this funding. ClimeTime partners provide climate science professional learning to Washington science teachers, using innovative strategies and effective practices. Many projects also create instructional materials aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, to support student climate science learning.
- Applied Science
- Environmental Science
- Environmental Studies
- Life Science
- Atmospheric Science
- Social Science
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Teaching/Learning Strategy
- Barbara Soots
- Elizabeth Schmitz
- Kimberley Astle
- Ellen Ebert
- Washington OSPI OER Project
- Date Added:
In this virtual professional development opportunity designed for teachers, EarthGen explores two global crises taking place concurrently - the climate crisis and COVID-19. What are the connections between the two? Why are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities disproportionately affected by both? Educators receive foundational information around climate justice, analyze the variables associated with vulnerability, exposure, and risk, and explore educational resources to bring this content into their classrooms.Contact EarthGen at email@example.com for more information.
In this virtual professional development opportunity designed for teachers, participants will have a chance to authentically engage with activities and experts as they grow their understanding of how climate change has and will impact their community. Teachers analyze and interpret recent climate science data and progress understanding on the most salient climate change indicators in Washington. Additionally, teachers explore the efforts to conserve and protect a local species, its cultural significance and how these efforts are indicative of a greater effort to address climate change. Teachers leave this training with increased preparedness to leverage a local species or climate change impact in their classroom to spur action in their community.Contact EarthGen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Energy Matters is an adaptable science unit designed for middle school students. Through the activities in the unit, students will increase their knowledge of energy concepts, with a focus on energy efficiency and conservation, as well as build understanding of the relationship between energy production/consumption and climate change.
Students learn how the greenhouse effect is related to global warming and how global warming impacts our planet, including global climate change. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and how we react to these changes are the main points of focus of this lesson.
How do greenhouse gases affect the climate? Explore the atmosphere during the ice age and today. What happens when you add clouds? Change the greenhouse gas concentration and see how the temperature changes. Then compare to the effect of glass panes. Zoom in and see how light interacts with molecules. Do all atmospheric gases contribute to the greenhouse effect?
Students observe demonstrations, and build and evaluate simple models to understand the greenhouse effect and the role of increased greenhouse gas concentration in global warming.
Students are presented with examples of the types of problems that environmental engineers solve, specifically focusing on air and land quality issues. Air quality topics include air pollution sources, results of poor air quality including global warming, acid rain and air pollution, as well as ways to reduce air pollution. Land quality topics include the differences between renewable and non-renewable resources, the results of non-renewable resource misuse and ways to reduce land pollution. (Water quality is introduced in a later lesson in a separate presentation, as it is the focal point of this unit curriculum.)
Student teams model the Earth's greenhouse effect using modeling clay, ice chunks, water, aluminum pie tins and plastic wrap. They observe and record what happens in this closed environment and discuss the implications of global warming theory for engineers, themselves and the Earth.
Students observe demonstrations, and build and evaluate simple models to understand the greenhouse effect, the role of increased greenhouse gas concentration in global warming, and the implications of global warming theory for engineers, themselves and the Earth. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how a bill becomes law and research global warming legislation.
How does energy flow in and out of our atmosphere? Explore how solar and infrared radiation enters and exits the atmosphere with an interactive model. Control the amounts of carbon dioxide and clouds present in the model and learn how these factors can influence global temperature. Record results using snapshots of the model in the virtual lab notebook where you can annotate your observations.
Students determine their carbon footprints by answering questions about their everyday lifestyle choices. Then they engineer plans to reduce them. Students learn about their personal impacts on global climate change and how they can help the environment.
This computer-based learning module engages students in questions that scientists around the world are exploring about Earths climate. They gain an appreciation for how much is not known about the Earth and climate change. The module contains 5 activities; 1) Earths Changing Climates, 2) Interactions Within the Atmosphere, 3) Sources, Sinks, and Feedbacks, 4) Feedbacks of Ice and Clouds, and 5) Using Models to Make Predictions. Each activity provides information in simulations, text, video, or graphic format and the students enter answers to both open-ended and closed questions within the program. Once the students have completed an activity, they can print a report showing all the questions and their answers. The authors estimate the entire module should take 225 minutes.
Students are introduced to the concepts of air pollution and air quality. The three lesson parts focus on the prerequisites for understanding air pollution. First, students use M&Ms to create a pie graph that expresses their understanding of the composition of air. Next, students watch and conduct several simple experiments to develop an understanding of the properties of air (it has mass, it takes up space, it can move, it exerts pressure, it can do work). Finally, students develop awareness and understanding of the daily air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI) listed in the newspaper. In an associated literacy activity, students explore the environmental history timeline.