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High School Climate Education

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

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2014 National Climate Assessment
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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The National Climate Assessment assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private decision-making at all levels.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
United States Global Change Research Program
Date Added:
01/01/2014
Adapting to climate change
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This video uses Bangladesh as a case study by describing climate change adaptation strategies being implemented in Bangladeshi communities as well as in other countries.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
The Economist
Date Added:
09/24/2018
America's Climate Choices: Advancing the Science of Climate Change
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This video production is a part of a four-panel report from the National Academies' America's Climate Choices project. The video maps out the realm of our accumulated knowledge regarding climate change and charts a path forward, urging that research on climate change enter a new era focused on the needs of decision makers.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
National Academies
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Assessing the Timing and Extent of Coastal Change in Western Alaska
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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An interactive map based on four decades of satellite images helps residents, resource managers, and stewards of the land anticipate and plan for coastal change.

Subject:
Physical Geography
Material Type:
Case Study
Provider:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Provider Set:
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
Date Added:
08/29/2016
At the Core of Climate Change
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This video shows where and how ice cores are extracted from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The cores are cut, packaged, flown to the ice core storage facility in Denver, further sliced into samples, and shipped to labs all over the world where scientists use them to study indicators of climate change from the past.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
KQED
Teachers' Domain
Date Added:
09/24/2018
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
The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe Undertakes Innovative Action to Reduce the Causes of Climate Change
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Educational Use
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The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe—a federally recognized Native American tribe in California—was one of 16 communities selected as a 2015–2016 Climate Action Champion by the Obama Administration for exceptional work in response to climate change.

The Tribe began its strategic climate action planning in 2008 and has become a regional leader in greenhouse gas reductions and community resiliency measures. To date, the Tribe has reduced energy consumption from 2008 levels by 35 percent and has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2018, utilizing a range of approaches—including aggressive energy efficiency upgrades, developing on-site renewable energy (biomass, solar, fuel cells, grid battery storage), and switching to green fuels (electricity and biodiesel).

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Case Study
Provider:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Provider Set:
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
Date Added:
11/03/2016
A Brief Mathematical Guide to Earth Science and Climate Change
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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0.0 stars

This collection of activities is based on a weekly series of space science problems distributed to thousands of teachers during the 2009-2010 school year. They were intended for students looking for additional challenges in the math and physical science curriculum in grades 9 through 12. The problems were created to be authentic glimpses of modern science and engineering issues, often involving actual research data. The problems were designed to be ‘one-pagers’ with a Teacher’s Guide and Answer Key as a second page. This compact form was deemed very popular by participating teachers.

Subject:
Mathematics
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
NASA
Provider Set:
Space Math
Date Added:
05/02/2017
The Carbon Cycle and its Role in Climate Change
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In this activity, students use a physical model to learn the basics of photosynthesis and respiration within the carbon cycle.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
United States Global Research Program
Date Added:
11/07/2012
Climate Change 1958: The Bell Telephone Science Hour
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Bell Telephone Science Hour produced this video in 1958, explaining how the production of CO2 from factories and automobiles is causing the atmosphere to warm, melting the polar ice caps, and causing the sea level to rise.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Bell Telephone Science Hour
Frank Capra
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Change, After the Storm
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This 3-activity sequence addresses the question: "To what extent should coastal communities build or rebuild?" The activity uses social science and geoscience data to prepare an evidence-based response to the question, in targeted US coastal communities.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Central Connecticut State University; INTEGRATE project
Jeff Thomas
Jim Ebert
Scott Linneman
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Change Basics
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The video offers a simple and easy-to-understand overview of climate change. It poses basic questions such as 'What is it?' and 'How will it effect us?' and effectively answers those questions.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Date Added:
10/27/2014
Climate Change Causes Loss of Genetic Diversity
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If you'd visited Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park 100 years ago, you probably would have encountered the alpine chipmunk, Tamias alpinus. Today, however, park visitors will have to hike up a nearby mountain to see one of these critters. That's because this species is sensitive to temperature and over the last hundred years of global climate change, Yosemite has warmed by about 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature increased, the chipmunks retreated to higher and higher elevations where it was cooler. Today, they occupy a fraction of their original range. If climate change continues, they could be squeezed right off the tops of their mountains and out of existence.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
University of California Museum of Paleontology
Provider Set:
Understanding Evolution
Date Added:
04/01/2012
Climate Change Impacts Alaska Glaciers
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Educational Use
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This video adapted from KTOO takes a look at Earth's warming and cooling cycles and the current atypical trend of warming that is impacting the glaciers in Alaska's Inside Passage.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
PBS LearningMedia
Provider Set:
PBS Learning Media: Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development
Author:
National Science Foundation
WGBH Educational Foundation
Date Added:
11/04/2008
Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity
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This video documents the effects of increasing global temperatures on biodiversity (changes in distribution, range, and numbers) and human populations. Adaptations to climate change are also outlined.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Convention on Biological Diversity
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Change Indicators: US and Global Temperature
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This resource is part of a collection of visualizations that illustrate observed changes in temperature, precipitation, storms, floods, and droughts. This resource focuses on US and Global temperature. Rising global average temperature is associated with widespread changes in weather patterns. Scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change. The larger collection includes climate change indicators within the oceans, snow and ice, and other ecosystems and the effects on humans and our society.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Environmental Protection Agency
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Change Showdown: Keystone XL Pipeline
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Environmentalists passionately opposed to a giant pipeline that would transport crude oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf coast are going head-to-head with proponents of the project. Students explore the controversy surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline and the strategic questions it raises for environmentalists.

Subject:
Social Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
Provider Set:
Teachable Moment
Author:
Mark Engler
Date Added:
05/16/2013
Climate Change and Arctic Ecosystems
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In this activity, students learn about how climate change is affecting the Arctic ecosystem and then investigate how this change is impacting polar bear populations. Students analyze maps of Arctic sea ice, temperature graphs, and polar bear population data to answer questions about the impact of climate change on the Arctic ecosystem.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Project Activities for Conceptualizing Climate and Climate Change
Purdue University
Date Added:
06/19/2012
Climate Change and Public Policy, with Lars-Erik Liljelund
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Host Harry Kreisler welcomes scientist Lars-Erik Liljelund, Director General of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, for a discussion of Swedish policy for addressing climate change and global warming. He reflects on his own career which combines work in public policy and science. He also talks about the distinctive quality of the global warming problem and the obstacles for finding and implementing solutions. 54 min)

Subject:
Environmental Science
Arts and Humanities
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
UCTV Teacher's Pet
Date Added:
06/20/2010
Climate Change and Water
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
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Climate Change and Water - Perspectives from the Forest Service is a summary of a forthcoming report by the Forest Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture which will detail the likely impacts of climate change on the Nation's forested watersheds and highlight the importance of managing forests to provide clean, abundant water.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
U.S. Forest Service
Date Added:
06/01/2008
Climate Change and the Global Ocean
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Video presents a broad overview of what (NASA) satellites can tell us about how climate change is affecting oceans.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Jennifer A. Shoemaker
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Date Added:
10/27/2014
Climate Change and the Oceans
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This activity covers the role that the oceans may play in climate change and how climate change may affect the oceans. It is lesson 8 in a nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
The King's Centre for Visualization in Science
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Change as Simulated by NCAR
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This animation depicts global surface warming as simulated by NCAR's Community Climate System Model (CCSM) Version 3. It shows the temperature anomalies relative to the end of the 19th century, both over the entire globe and as a global average. The model shows the temporary cooling effects during 5 major volcanic eruptions and estimates future temperature trends based on different amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Change at the Doorstep
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This PBS video focuses on sea level rise in Norfolk, Virginia and how the residents are managing the logistical, financial and political implications. Science journalists who have been studying Norfolk's rising sea level problems are interviewed, as well as local residents who are being impacted.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
PBS
Date Added:
08/17/2018
Climate Change in New Hampshire
Unrestricted Use
Public Domain
Rating
0.0 stars

United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's speech to the U.S. Senate floor about the detrimental effects carbon pollution will have upon the environment of New Hampshire and the rest of the world.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Lecture
Author:
Sheldon Whitehouse
Date Added:
06/19/2014
Climate Change in Northern New Hampshire: Past, Present and Future
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC
Rating
0.0 stars

EARTH’S CLIMATE CHANGES. It always has and always will. However, an extensive and growing body of scientific evidence indicates that human activities—including the burning of fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) for energy, clearing of forested lands for agriculture, and raising livestock—are now the primary force driving change in the Earth’s climate system. This report describes how the climate of northern New Hampshire has changed over the past century and how the future climate of the region will be affected by a warmer planet due to human activities.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
University of New Hampshire Scholars' Repository
Provider Set:
The Sustainability Institute
Author:
Anne Stoner
Cameron P. Wake
C. Keeley
Elizabeth Burakowski
Julie LaBrance
Katharine Hayhoe
Peter Wilkinson
Date Added:
01/01/2014
Climate Change in Southern New Hampshire: Past, Present and Future
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC
Rating
0.0 stars

EARTH’S CLIMATE CHANGES. It always has and always will. However, an extensive and growing body of scientific evidence indicates that human activities—including the burning of fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) for energy, clearing of forested lands for agriculture, and raising livestock—are now the primary force driving change in the Earth’s climate system. This report describes how the climate of southern New Hampshire has changed over the past century and how the future climate of the region will be affected by a warmer planet due to human activities.

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
University of New Hampshire Scholars' Repository
Provider Set:
The Sustainability Institute
Author:
Anne Stoner
Cameron P. Wake
C. Keeley
Elizabeth Burakowski
Julie LaBrance
Katharine Hayhoe
Peter Wilkinson
Date Added:
01/01/2014
Climate Heroes: Stories of Change
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This documentary film takes the viewer on a virtual trip around the world to visit communities in different countries (Asia, Africa, Central America, Australia) taking action on climate change. The documentary weaves together nine inspiring stories, showing that action on climate change is creating jobs, improving lives and turning dreams of a better future into reality.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Momentum for Change
United Nations Climate Change Secretariat
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Climate Science in a Nutshell: Climate Change Around the World?
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This video is part of the Climate Science in a Nutshell video series. This short video looks at the effects of climate change happening right now around the globe, including: more extreme weather events, droughts, forest fires, land use changes, altered ranges of disease-carrying insects, and the loss of some agricultural products. It concludes with a discussion of the differences between weather, climate variability, and climate change.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Planet Nutshell
Utah Education Network
Date Added:
09/24/2018
ClimateSim - a climate-change simulation app from ScienceBySimulation
Rating
5.0 stars

ClimateSim is a fast and simple climate modeling and simulation tool. It is a web app that is freely available to anyone interested in climate science. ClimateSim allows users to model scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions in the current century and simulates the first-order response of the earth system. ClimateSim makes climate simulation accessible in a simplified form and provides an easy-to-use simulation platform for performing virtual climate experiments. ClimateSim is primarily targeted as a science education tool for undergraduate and advanced high-school students in physics, environmental science and related courses. Instructors can use ClimateSim to illustrate climate-change concepts, demonstrate dynamic relationships between climate variables, and assign simulation-based exercises as part of their courses. It is also an appropriate and accessible tool that policymakers, journalists and others can use to get a better understanding and working knowledge of the basics of climate science.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Homework/Assignment
Interactive
Simulation
Author:
Kumar Venkat
Date Added:
08/28/2017
Climate change: How do we know?
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This static graph of changes in CO2 concentrations goes back 400,000 years, showing the dramatic spike in recent years.

Subject:
Physical Science
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
NASA
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Date Added:
10/27/2014
College of Menominee Nation's Sustainable Development Institute Builds Capacity for Tribal Climate Change Adaptation
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Climate change poses a threat to the traditional livelihoods and the sustainably managed forestlands of the Menominee Nation. However, climate change also presents an opportunity—a chance to apply indigenous knowledge to adapt and sustain native communities, and for the Menominee Nation to share its understandings with others seeking to address this global issue. 

Subject:
Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Case Study
Provider:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Provider Set:
U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
Date Added:
08/09/2016
Communicating Climate 1: The Science of Climate Change
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In this activity, students use climate data to develop a simple graph of how climate has changed over time and then present the result in a blog, emphasizing effective science communication.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
InTeGrate, SERC
Jennifer Hanselman (Westfield State University)
Jennifer Silko (Pennsylvania State University)
Laura Wright (Western Carolina University)
Rick Oches (Bentley University)
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Communicating Climate 2: Literary Representations of Climate Change
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This activity explores how the topic of climate change is represented in various forms of writing, from scholarly articles to opinion pieces and works of fiction. While the content does not emphasize climate science itself, it instead allows students to focus on how the science is being portrayed.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
InTeGrate, SERC
Jennifer Hanselman (Westfield State University)
Jennifer Silko (Pennsylvania State University)
Laura Wright (Western Carolina University)
Rick Oches (Bentley University)
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Cool Cores Capture Climate Change
Unrestricted Use
CC BY
Rating
0.0 stars

This Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter is a detailed computer-based exploration in which students learn how various climatic conditions impact the formations of sediment layers on the ocean floor. They analyze sediment core data from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica for evidence of climate changes over time. In addition, they interact with various tools and animations throughout the activity, in particular the Paleontological Stratigraphic Interval Construction and Analysis Tool (PSICAT) that is used to construct a climate change model of a sediment core from core images.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Earth Exploration Toolbook/TERC
Jean Pennycook
Date Added:
06/19/2012
Coping With Climate Change: Green Roofs of Chicago
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A set of eight photographs compiled into a series of slides explain how urban areas are facing challenges in keeping both their infrastructure and their residents cool as global temperatures rise. Chicago is tackling that problem with a green design makeover. This report is part of PBS's Coping with Climate Change series and could challenge students to consider engineering designs to help their own cities be greener.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Newshour
Date Added:
09/24/2018
Dendrochronology - Trees: Recorders of Climate Change
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In this activity, students are introduced to tree rings by examining a cross section of a tree, also known as a 'tree cookie.' They discover how tree age can be determined by studying the rings and how ring thickness can be used to deduce times of optimal growing conditions. Next, they investigate simulated tree rings applying the scientific method to explore how climatic conditions varied over time.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Provider Set:
CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Author:
NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research
Date Added:
06/19/2012
Displacement in the Face of Climate Change
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Educational Use
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0.0 stars

In this unit, students will analyze how climate change affects migration around the world and the policies that could be effective in addressing the issue. To start, students will investigate what motivates people to move in general. Then students will read “The Great Climate Migration” by Abrahm Lustgarten and Meridith Kohut, where they will be introduced to how climate change may affect migration in the future. Students will then investigate how climate change is impacting migration by reading and presenting about specific scenarios around the globe. Finally, students will begin to research how policy can address climate migration to avoid disastrous outcomes in the future.

Subject:
Social Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Pulitzer Center
Author:
April Wallace
Date Added:
07/22/2021