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Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 6-8 - Lesson Plan PDF
Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 6-8 - Lesson Plan PDF

Teacher Lesson Plan PDF | Free
This free two-week lesson plan PDF 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 & Table of Contents

Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 6-8, a $19.95 value, is available to download for free thanks to funding from the Hewlett-Packard Company!

Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 6-8 (complete unit)

Download Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, Grades 6-8 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: The Carbon Link 

Download Lesson 1: The Carbon LinkStudents take on roles as part of an interactive carbon cycle model. Students then witness a demonstration of the greenhouse effect and explore its role in global climate change.

Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide Trends

Download Lesson 2: Carbon Dioxide TrendsStudents graph data to examine atmospheric carbon dioxide trends during the past 45 years. They will predict future carbon dioxide emissions based on the graph. The activity closes with a discussion of ways to reduce 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 in a variety of ecosystems. Students communicate these impacts to the class through skits.


Lesson 4: My Carbon Footprint

Download Lesson 4: My Carbon FootprintStudents collect information about their daily lives to calculate their carbon footprint using an online carbon calculator. They compare their results to average carbon footprints around the world. Students also discover ways to decrease their carbon emissions.

Lesson 5: Energy Explorations

Download Lesson 5: Energy ExplorationsIn small groups, students read about various sources of energy used for electricity production. Students identify the pros and cons of these energy sources and take a position, either encouraging or discouraging the class to use particular energy sources.


Lesson 6: Making Climate Change Connections

Download Lesson 6: Making Climate Change ConnectionsIn pairs, students read about the impacts of climate change experienced by people living in different environments around the world. As a class, students discuss how these climate change impacts are connected.

Lesson 7: How Much Does Carbon Cost?

Download Lesson 7: How Much Does Carbon Cost?Students begin with a simulation to understand the limits imposed by environmental regulations. They compare 2 structural solutions to regulate carbon emissions, then play a cap and trade game to find 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 the environmental and social impacts of resource consumption. Students discuss the impacts of their consumption on climate change.

Lesson 9: Energy Policies for a Cool Future

Download Lesson 9: Energy Policies for a Cool FutureStudents compare energy use and CO2 emissions by country and per capita in developing countries (China and Bolivia) and developed countries (Germany and United States). They discuss energy impacts and suggest 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



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 cycle
  • 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 6-8 can be used as a short unit on global issues and climate change 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.

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.

Liza Esser
  • School: Capitol Hill Day School, Washington, D.C.
  • Grades: 6-8     Classroom Size: 12
  • Subject: Environmental Science

Wendy Ewbank
  • School: Seattle Girls School, Seattle, WA
  • Grade: 7     Classroom Size: ~18
  • Subject: Social Studies and Science

Joanna Forge't
  • School: Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School, South Easton, MA
  • Grades: 9-12     Classroom Size: ~15
  • Subject: Environmental Science and Studies

Educator Quotes

 I would have been able to do more but these students wanted to look at every website and discuss everything they were learning….What a thrill to see kids excited about learning. 

- Middle School Teacher, Cocoa, FL


> It was a very strong unit for creating a general understanding of climate change and its implications. 

-Middle School Global Issues and Environmental Education Teacher, Doha, Qatar


> I really loved the curriculum. [It was] just the right blend of scientific knowledge, thought provoking questions, and hands-on activities. 

- Middle School Teacher, Greenwood Village, CO

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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