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Curricula for Global Sustainability Education

Ignite your students' learning and inspire them to take action in their communities with our hands-on, standards-aligned global sustainability curricula!

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Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 9-12 - Lesson Plan PDF
Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 9-12 - Lesson Plan PDF

Teacher Lesson Plan PDF | Free 
This free two-week curriculum unit for grades 9-12 encourages students to think critically about climate change and to collaborate to devise solutions. Students learn about climate change within a systems framework, examining interconnections among environmental, social, and economic issues. Facts and figures in this unit were updated in July 2013. 

            



 

Free Downloads

Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 9-12, a $19.95 value, is available to download for free thanks to funding from the Hewlett-Packard Company!

Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 9-12 (complete unit)

Download Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 9-12 for FREEDownload the entire unit for FREE.


Table of Contents and Preview

Download the table of contents and previewPreview the introduction, overview, and table of contents.


Lesson 1: Greenhouse Gas Investigations

Download Lesson 1: Greenhouse Gas InvestigationsThrough an experiment, students explore Earth’s greenhouse effect and graph results of 3 scenarios to draw conclusions about how greenhouse gases affect air temperature.



Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide Trends

Download Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide TrendsStudents graph data to examine seasonal and long-term atmospheric carbon dioxide trends during the past 45 years and predict future carbon dioxide emissions.



Lesson 3: Effects of Climate Change on Living Things

Download Lesson 3: Effects of Climate Change on Living ThingsIn small groups students learn about potential impacts of climate change on living things and communicate these impacts to their school community through informative posters or other media.



Lesson 4: It All Adds Up!

Download Lesson 4: It All Adds Up!Students calculate their carbon footprint using an online carbon calculator and compare their results to the carbon footprint of an average person in the United States.



Lesson 5: Energy Explorations

Download Lesson 5: Energy ExplorationsIn small groups, students read about various sources of energy used for electricity production, identify pros and cons of these energy sources, and take a position on whether these sources should be used or not.
 

Lesson 6: Changes All Around: Geographic Impacts of Climate Change

Download Lesson 6: Changes All Around: Geographic Impacts of Climate ChangeIn small groups, students examine the climate of countries in different environments and then predict what might happen to the climate of a particular country as the earth warms.



Lesson 7: How Much Does Carbon Cost?

Download Lesson 7: How Much Does Carbon Cost?Students evaluate structural solutions to regulate carbon emissions and play a cap and trade game, finding ways to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective manner.



Lesson 8: Shopping Heats Up

Download Lesson 8: Shopping Heats UpIn this simulation, students experience how resources are distributed and used by different people based on access to wealth, paying attention to various impacts of resource consumption.



Lesson 9: Energy Policies for a Cool Future

Download Lesson 9: Energy Policies for a Cool FutureStudents discuss energy impacts and create policies for addressing global climate change related to energy use at a “World Climate Change Summit."



Reading 1: What Is Climate and How Is It Changing?

Download Reading 1: What Is Climate and How Is It Changing?Scientific concepts and past and current trends related to climate change


Reading 2: What Size Is Your Footprint?

Download Reading 2: What Size Is Your Footprint?Individual carbon footprints and personal solutions to climate change


Reading 3: Save Your Energy!

Download Reading 3: Save Your Energy!Energy sources for transportation and electricity


Reading 4: Climate Justice

Download Reading 4: Climate JusticeImpacts of climate change on human health and migration


Reading 5: What's Happening Out There?

Download Reading 5: What's Happening Out There?Examples of climate change solutions undertaken by governments and businesses


Assessments

Download the Climate Change assessmentsAn assortment of 4 assessments

Resource Details

 

Why Use Climate Change?

Climate change is a complex and interconnected global issue that cuts across many disciplines. This curriculum is aligned with national science and social studies standards and may be used in other classes as well. Appropriate disciplines are suggested for each lesson.

The 2-week unit begins with an introduction to climate change. During the first week, the foundation is laid for understanding some of the forces behind climate change. Students learn basic scientific phenomena related to climate change, beginning with the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect and concluding with an analysis of different fuel types.

The second week widens and deepens students’ understanding of climate change with an exploration of its connections to various social, economic, and environmental factors. By the end of this 2-week unit, students will understand and be able to communicate complex and interconnected issues related to climate change.

Each week of the curriculum is a stand-alone unit and can be taught independently of the other week.


Key Concepts Covered:

  • Carbon dioxide trends
  • Carbon footprint
  • Climate change policy
  • Ecosystems
  • Emissions trading
  • Energy use and conservation
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmental regulations
  • Equity, poverty, and scarcity
  • Global connections
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Personal and structural solutions
  • Regional climate impacts
  • Renewable and nonrenewable energy sources
  • Temperature trends

Student Objectives:

  • Explain the science behind the greenhouse effect and rising global temperatures
  • Investigate current and historic carbon dioxide trends
  • Understand the impacts of climate change on living communities
  • Assess personal carbon emissions
  • Analyze the benefits and consequences of using various fuel sources
  • Understand the impacts of climate change on societies and environments in different parts of the world
  • Explore environmental justice issues related to climate change
  • Describe economic solutions to climate change
  • Debate climate change policy from multiple viewpoints
  • Brainstorm and discuss personal and structural solutions to climate change

Student Skills Developed:

  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Graphing
  • Inquiry
  • Problem-solving
  • Systems thinking
  • Written and oral communication

 

How to Use Climate Change

Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 9-12 can be used as a short unit on global issues or as an engaging contextual framework within which core subjects are taught. Climate Change is often compatible with existing curriculum requirements and topics and extends students’ learning through an interdisciplinary approach to issues.

 

 

Climate Change Lessons and Student Readings

Download the complete table of contents.


Lesson 1: Greenhouse Gas Investigations

Download Lesson 1: Greenhouse Gas InvestigationsThrough an experiment, students explore Earth’s greenhouse effect and graph results of 3 scenarios to draw conclusions about how greenhouse gases affect air temperature.



Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide Trends

Download Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide TrendsStudents graph data to examine seasonal and long-term atmospheric carbon dioxide trends during the past 45 years and predict future carbon dioxide emissions.



Lesson 3: Effects of Climate Change on Living Things

Download Lesson 3: Effects of Climate Change on Living ThingsIn small groups students learn about potential impacts of climate change on living things and communicate these impacts to their school community through informative posters or other media.



Lesson 4: It All Adds Up!

Download Lesson 4: It All Adds Up!Students calculate their carbon footprint using an online carbon calculator and compare their results to the carbon footprint of an average person in the United States.



Lesson 5: Energy Explorations

Download Lesson 5: Energy ExplorationsIn small groups, students read about various sources of energy used for electricity production, identify pros and cons of these energy sources, and take a position on whether these sources should be used or not.

Lesson 6: Changes All Around: Geographic Impacts of Climate Change

Download Lesson 6: Changes All Around: Geographic Impacts of Climate ChangeIn small groups, students examine the climate of countries in different environments and then predict what might happen to the climate of a particular country as the earth warms.



Lesson 7: How Much Does Carbon Cost?

Download Lesson 7: How Much Does Carbon Cost?Students evaluate structural solutions to regulate carbon emissions and play a cap and trade game, finding ways to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective manner.



Lesson 8: Shopping Heats Up

Download Lesson 8: Shopping Heats UpIn this simulation, students experience how resources are distributed and used by different people based on access to wealth, paying attention to various impacts of resource consumption.



Lesson 9: Energy Policies for a Cool Future

Download Lesson 9: Energy Policies for a Cool FutureStudents discuss energy impacts and create policies for addressing global climate change related to energy use at a “World Climate Change Summit."



Reading 1: What Is Climate and How Is It Changing?

Download Reading 1: What Is Climate and How Is It Changing?Scientific concepts and past and current trends related to climate change


Reading 2: What Size Is Your Footprint?

Download Reading 2: What Size Is Your Footprint?Individual carbon footprints and personal solutions to climate change


Reading 3: Save Your Energy!

Download Reading 3: Save Your Energy!Energy sources for transportation and electricity


Reading 4: Climate Justice

Download Reading 4: Climate JusticeImpacts of climate change on human health and migration


Reading 5: What's Happening Out There?

Download Reading 5: What's Happening Out There?Examples of climate change solutions undertaken by governments and businesses


Assessments

Download the Climate Change assessmentsAn assortment of 4 assessments

State Standards

Classroom Examples 

The classroom examples below show how Climate Change: Connections and Solutions can be used to address a variety of classroom challenges and increase student involvement.


Matt D'Amato
  • School: Vanguard High School, New York, New York
  • Grades: 11-12     Classroom Size: 20
  • Subject: Environmental Science

© Tania Westby
Noah Zeichner
  • School: Chief Sealth High School, Seattle, WA
  • Grades: 10-12     Classroom Size: 25-30
  • Subject: Global Leadership, U.S. History, Theory of Knowledge

Educator Quotes


 You have put together an excellent set of materials that are easy to use, active and interactive in their approach, and sequenced in a way that builds a competence in vocabulary and in concepts of climate change. 

- High School Teacher, Lincoln, NE

 

 [Climate Change: Connections and Solutions] is an excellent resource - very well put together, especially the student readings and the various role play or issue position activities. 

- High School Social Studies Teacher, Wellington, New Zealand

 

 The curriculum empowers students to be agents of change. I have used the Climate Change unit with awesome results in my classroom with 7th graders in a Global Connections course. Although students think they know all about Climate Change, the way the material was presented added to, extended, and challenged their existing knowledge. 

- Contemporary World Issues Teacher, Weston, CT

Professional Development

 Facing the Future offers the following workshop to help you learn more about Climate Change: Connections and Solutions:

Climate Change: Connections and Solutions
This session walks through Climate Change: Connections and Solutions. Participants will engage in hands-on examples of several lessons on topics including carbon dioxide trends, fuel sources, environmental justice issues, and economic solutions to climate change. The fully-planned out units are aligned with national science and social studies standards and include daily activities, student handouts, lesson extensions, reflection questions, additional resources, action project ideas, student readings, and assessments of student learning.

If you are interested in having Facing the Future present at your next event email or call us at 206-264-1503.


Additional Professional Development Opportunities

 

To learn more about our upcoming workshops, webinars, and conferences, please visit our Workshop Calendar. If you are interested in having Facing the Future present at your next event, please contact us.

Supplementary Materials

To complement Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, this section contains background information and additional resources to help educators and students learn more about global issues and sustainability.

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Nonprofit Facing the Future is an international leader whose mission is to create tools for educators that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future.
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