climate change lesson plans

I’ve gathered some of my favorite lesson plans here, from various organizations, for teaching climate change to students in grades 3 through 12 and to use in communities:

NSTA:  What have you heard about climate change? 
grades:  7-12
subject:  multiple
comments:  This is brand new, so I haven’t used it.  It looks good!  It focuses on identifying common ideas about climate change. 

What Can Tree Rings Tell Us?
grades:  10-12
subject:  science, biology, math
comments:  This one is fun and popular!  Students count tree rings from photos of tree cores (though I use real tree core samples) and answer questions that involve math and analysis.

Climate Change: A Human Health Perspective
grades:  9-12
subject:  science, biology, health
comments:  I haven’t used this, but it looks good.  It’s a research/exploration project with lots of reading and writing.

Visualizing Changes in the Great Lakes
grades:  7-12, plus communities / adults
subject:  multiple
comments:  I’ve used this a lot and I really like it.  It is an interactive ‘game’ that lets people follow the cascading effects of climate change.  I liked it so much that I got permission from Ohio State to adapt it as part of the Connect! project. Here’s a version about rain gardens.

The Carbon Cycle
grades:  5-8
subject:  science, biology, earth sciences, chemistry
comments:  I’ve used versions of this and I like it a lot!  It’s very active and has kids acting like molecules to get a basic understanding of the chemical interactions in ecosystems.  There are follow-up activities here and here.

Faces of Climate Change
grades:  5-7 (there are versions for older students on the Chicago Botanic Garden’s website)
subject:  social studies
comments:  I’ve done this with groups and it is great at building knowledge and empathy.  It involves reading and discussion.

Migration Stories
grades:  7 and up, plus communities / adults
subjects:  social studies, literature, english, communications, history
comments:  This is fun, too!  People write about where they come from, to relate to migration and the stories of other people, plants, pollinators and others.

grades: 3-4 / elementary school
subjects: art, science
comments: Students learn about sunflowers through observation– by growing sunflowers, seeing the flowers in art– and by representation– by collecting data and making drawings. Extensions can include focusing on sunflowers as subjects for community/citizen science projects.

Nature’s Notebook Activities
grades: multiple, in a searchable database
subjects: multiple, in a searchable database
comments: This site provides a very helpful search tool for finding curricula and activities that get kids (and communities) involved in gathering and analyzing data.

Make Your Own Visual Collages
grades:  any, plus communities / adults
subjects:  multiple
comments:  I worked on this with the Connect! project.  Collages are my favorite!  People can use this to make their own collages, then use the collages to spark conversation.

field guides:

Bees, from beespotter
Butterflies, from the Field Museum

last updated 4/2/19