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Understanding Climate Change

Air, Global Citizenship, Natural Systems
9, 10, 11, 12
Essential questions
What is climate change?
What is responsible for climate change?
How will climate change impact our world?
What is climate resilience?
How can we become more resilient in the face of climate change?
What is the role of nature in increasing climate resilience?
What can citizens do to make an impact where climate change is concerned?

This lesson is divided in to six parts. In Part 1 of the lesson students use local data to explore the difference between climate and weather and to derive definitions of the two.

In Part 2 of the lesson, students explore common questions about climate change using the EPA’s website as a starting point for researching the questions. Students create a climate change answers wall or story map with their research.

In Part 3 of the lesson, students learn why scientists are calling our present time “The Anthropocene” in a short video. They then explore real data and online interactives from NASA and NOAA to construct a picture of how humans are changing the Earth while learning about concepts like the Keeling Curve.

In Part 4 students examine how their state will be impacted by climate change by examining various online resources including the States at Risk report card. They will see how their state stacks up against other states in terms of preparedness and can examine in more detail the areas where the state is ill-prepared. They will find climate resilience stories for areas with similar threats and then share the inspirational stories they have found.

In Part 5 students will explore sea level rise under different carbon emission scenarios and look at the impacts in coastal cities around the world. They will also learn about a coastal resilience strategy in Florida that uses nature-based solutions to protect cities from storm surge and sea level rise.

Finally, in Part 6 students will explore resources for becoming informed citizens and citizen activists. They will determine their own carbon footprint and describe their strategies for reducing it.

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