Tread Lightly: Our Changing Climate - Part 1
The first step to taking action to combat climate change is to understand the science behind it, how human activity is contributing to it, and what repercussions it will have for human beings and other living creatures.
This lesson is divided into two parts that can be taught over two class periods.
In part 1, students are introduced to the science of climate change and are asked to make connections between the causes and effects of climate change.
Time Required: 1 Class Period
This lesson is designed to help students to:
• Develop a basic understanding of the science of climate change.
• Understand what factors contribute to climate change.
• Explore the impacts of climate change on human life and biodiversity, and the interconnectedness of ecosystems.
• Appreciate the pressing nature of the climate crisis and the importance of taking immediate and ongoing action.
1. Show the video, Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip and distribute handout A in order to help students understand the science of climate change.
2. Have students work in groups to use their knowledge of climate change science to extrapolate how it could lead to consequences such as:
• Arctic ice loss • Extreme weather events • Water scarcity
• Sea level rise • Threats to species and habitat • Environmental refugees
• Spread of disease • Soil degradation and desertification • Ocean acidification
You can either assign a group of students to an individual consequence or assign more than one consequence to each group, depending on the number of students in the class.
3. Have the groups present their ideas and explanations to the class.
4. Distribute handout B, which outlines how climate change leads to the consequences listed above, and have the groups compare its explanations with the ones they developed.
5. Engage the class in a large group discussion about how they feel about our changing climate.
Handout A: The Greenhouse Effect Handout B: The Consequences of Climate Change
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