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Elementary Climate Education

This is a curated collection of resources that aim to teach about Earth's climate for elementary students. 

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Activities for Studying Tree Rings Online
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Selected resources provide three web-based activities to complement science lessons in an issue of Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle. The free, online magazine for Grades K-5 teachers explores the essential principles of climate literacy.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
National Science Foundation
Date Added:
05/30/2012
Asking Questions, All the Time
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The ability to ask and answer questions while reading is essential to comprehension. This article discusses instructional strategies used to teach questioning and provides many online resources. The article appears in the free, online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle, which explores the seven essential principles of the climate sciences for teachers in k-grade 5 classrooms.

Subject:
Education
Reading Informational Text
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
National Science Foundation
Date Added:
05/30/2012
BYOA: Bring Your Own Advocate!
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This professional development article describes approaches to using social media in harnessing the power of Web 2.0 technologies to reinforce the connection between multimedia literacy and powerful content-area learning in grades K-5. The emphasis is on collaboration with the school librarian. The article appears in the free online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle, which is structured around the seven essential principles of the climate sciences.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Marcia Mardis
National Science Foundation
Date Added:
12/17/2011
Beetle Outbreaks and Climate Change
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This interactive shows the extent of the killing of lodgepole pine trees in western Canada. The spread of pine beetle throughout British Columbia has devastated the lodgepole pine forests there. This animation shows the spread of the beetle and the increasing numbers of trees affected from 1999-2008 and predicts the spread up until 2015.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
American Museum of Natural History
Date Added:
10/27/2014
Beyond Data Collection: Analysis and Identification of Patterns
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This article provides a brief discussion of the importance of teaching students to analyze data and representations of data as well as two resources that can help teachers implement these strategies into their instruction.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
Date Added:
10/17/2014
The Biosphere/Climate Connection
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This article continues an examination of each of the seven essential principles of the climate sciences on which the online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle is structured. Principle 3 states that life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate. The climate dictates where and how species can survive. The author discusses the scientific concepts underlying the life forms' dependence on the climate and expands the discussion with diagrams, photos, and online resources.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Kimberly Lightle
Date Added:
05/30/2012
Can You Read a Tree?
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In this nonfiction story, young readers and listeners learn how scientists use cross sections from trees to reconstruct past climates. Versions are provided for readers at two levels, k-2 and 3-5, and in text-only and illustrated formats. The story is also available as an electronic book with recorded narration. An original story is a regular feature of each issue of the free, online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle. The story can be used in science and literacy lessons and activities throughout the magazine.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Reading
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
National Science Foundation
Date Added:
05/30/2012
Changes in Earth's Atmosphere
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Students will explore changes in Earth's atmosphere over the past few centuries, then design, build, and analyze a structure that control internal temperature without using additional energy.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership
Author:
Adrienne Treadwell
Date Added:
07/01/2015
Classroom Phenology: Using the Environment as a Source of Data and Observations
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This activity is a classroom and schoolyard investigation where students collect daily temperature and precipitation readings, weather observations, and weekly phenology reports in a phenology binder and in nature journals. Students then analyze this data and compare to recorded values in the Weatherguide calendar.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Carrie Otis
Date Added:
08/16/2012
Cleaning Air with Balloons
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Educational Use
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Students observe and discuss a simple balloon model of an electrostatic precipitator to better understand how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.

Subject:
Engineering
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Amy Kolenbrander
Denise Carlson
Gwendolyn Frank
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Natalie Mach
Sharon Perez
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Climate Change: Virtual Bookshelf
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This article features children's literature about weather, climate, and climate change. What’s the difference between weather and climate? How do scientists observe, measure, and predict weather phenomena? How is Earth’s climate changing, and why? This month’s bookshelf will help students develop a solid grasp of weather-related concepts. It will also introduce students to global warming and climate change and inspire them to do what they can to combat the problem.

Subject:
Ecology
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
Kate Hastings
Date Added:
06/01/2010
Climate Change and the Polar Regions: Issue 20, June 2010
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This issue of the free online magazine, Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, highlights resources that help elementary teachers learn about climate change and teach their students important foundational concepts.

Subject:
Life Science
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
The Ohio State University
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Climate Change and the Polar Regions: Unit Outlines
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This article assembles free resources from the Climate Change and the Polar Regions issue of the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears cyberzine into a unit outline based on the 5E learning cycle framework. Outlines are provided for Grades K-2 and Grades 3-5.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Climate Kids: Planet Health Report: Temperature
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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The term "global average temperature" is defined and its importance in monitoring climate change is discussed. A supplemental column makes the analogy between Earth’s temperature and human vital signs. This lesson is part of the Climate Kids website, a NASA education resource featuring articles, videos, images and games focused on the science of climate change.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
NASA
Provider Set:
NASA Wavelength
Date Added:
11/05/2014
Climate Kids: What Else Do We Need To Find Out?
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Public Domain
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NASA scientists, using several NASA Earth observing satellites, continue to seek answers to questions related to climate change. Several of those questions, focused on such topics as the effect of clouds and aerosols, and the role of the sun's cycles and the carbon cycle, are included in this article. Images of the respective satellites involved in the research are shown. This article is part of the Climate Kids website, a NASA education resource featuring articles, videos, images and games focused on the science of climate change.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
NASA
Provider Set:
NASA Wavelength
Date Added:
11/05/2014
Climate Literacy in the Elementary Classroom
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This article provides five strategies for building the foundation for climate science literacy in the elementary grades.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Mark S. McCaffrey
Susan M. Buhr
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Climate Misconceptions: A Top 10 List
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This article discusses ten common misconceptions held by students and adults about climate change.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Mark S. McCaffrey
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Climate Science: What We Need to Know
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This article presents the candid and informal response of a climate scientist who strives to communicate the essentials of climate change.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Carol Landis
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Consequences of Climate Change: Lessons about Water Availability and Extreme Weather
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This article from the free online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle provides appropriate science lessons for Grades K-5. The focus is on acquainting young learners with climate-change concepts that are not too complex for their grade level and will not frighten them. In each issue, the magazine develops articles around one of the seven essential principles of climate science. The author believes early lessons about water availability and extreme weather events will prepare students for complex climate concepts they will encounter in later grades.

Subject:
Education
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
National Science Foundation
Date Added:
05/30/2012
Correlation to Standards and Curriculum Connections
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The concepts that underlie the fourth essential principle of climate literacy ("Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes.") are too complex for students in early and upper-level elementary school, but the foundational knowledge can be taught within existing curriculums and standards. This foundational knowledge will lead to understanding in later years. The author shows the correlation to the national science education standards, identifies misconceptions among elementary school students, suggests formative assessment probes, and identifies lessons and activities to make curriculum connections. The free, online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle is based on the seven essential principles of the climate sciences.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Assessment
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle
Author:
Kimberly Lightle
National Science Foundation
Date Added:
05/30/2012