Understanding Climate Change grades 7-12 is an excellent new resource from NSTA that has a comprehensive unit of nine lesson plans, called sessions, highlighting different areas of climate change that can be easily adapted and included in various other science areas. There is an excellent section on standard alignment that will allow teachers to easily connect it with their current curriculum, as well as a great section on teacher tools and resources. Each section has safety notes with each activity as needed, which is a great piece, especially for teachers working in content areas, or in locations, that don’t necessarily do many labs or work with potentially harmful materials. Each session is designed as a plan with information for both student and teacher, allowing teachers to feel comfortable with the information regardless of their background in teaching the content and giving them the tools to set their students up for success!
The book follows the 5E model which focuses on inquiry through engagement, exploration, explanation, extension, and evaluation. This resource addresses a lot of the more difficult to approach facets of Climate Change, such as addressing misconceptions and evaluating data and evidence. There are concrete, hands-on learning experiences in each of the nine sessions partnered with modeling and diagrams. It sets students up to define Climate Change so they can better understand what they are studying and problem-solving for, and addresses the difference between Global Warming and Climate Change. It is designed to get students to compare and contrast what they have read and heard versus what they actually understand as a scientific concept. I think my favorite part about this resource is that it focuses on evidence and evaluation of data, most importantly fake news and how to identify whether or not a source is reliable or not and then being able to defend a claim with evidence. The unit wraps up with a community connection encouraging teachers and students alike to reach out and apply what they’ve learned to make an impact on Climate Change in the real world. An additional activity that would fit very well with this is a Lifecycle project, following the life cycle of an everyday product. The Life Cycle of Everyday Stuff is a great guide for this - see link below!
As a high school teacher, I think this resource is much more geared towards the high school level, but by using the standard alignment and your own expertise it is easily adapted to any age group that you want to adapt it for. I will certainly be doing my best to include it in my curriculum both over the summer with my 1st through 5th-grade enrichment and with my freshman Biology classes next fall!
To learn about the 5E Model and where to get this resource, see the links below!