Lesson Plan

Climate Quest! 

Hikers take in the views on the Alaskan tundra
Hikers take in the views on the Alaskan tundra
NPS Photo / Andrea Willingham

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
Subject:
Climate, Climate Change, Conservation, Earth Science, Environment
Duration:
60-120 minutes (1-2 class sessions)
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
Geography: A1; E5; F4. Science: [4] SA3.1; [5] SA 3.1; [5] SE3.1;

Overview

Climate Quest is a fun-filled journey around the world!  It will give the class a chance to visit and see some amazing things….and to get a glimpse of how the world is changing.  The goal during the quest will be to gather clues to see what is going on out there, why things are changing and what we might be able to do to help!

Objective(s)

At the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. List and describe 2 causes of climate change. 
  2. Identify 3 effects of climate change. 
  3. Identify 3 actions they can take as individuals and as a class to help slow the effect of climate change.


Background

Welcome to Climate Quest! Climate Quest is a fun-filled journey around the world! It will give the class a chance to visit and see some amazing things….and to get a glimpse of how the world is changing. The goal during the quest will be to gather clues to see what is going on out there, why things are changing and what we might be able to do to help!

Climate change is happening, in our backyards and around the world. Certain destinations will help the students understand the reasons why the temperature of the world is increasing and why climate change is happening. Other destinations will help the students understand more about the consequences of a feverish world. And finally, a number of destinations will reveal actions that are currently helping, or would help, to slow the effects of a warming world.

Climate Quest is designed to be facilitated by the educator with the whole class moving from one destination to the next as a group. The activity has been designed with 20 stops, however it can easily be divided in half. The secret phrase works if the activity is stopped after collecting Climate Clue #11: explore. The second half of the phrase is completed when the entire journey is over.

Materials



Procedure

Climate Quest is designed to be facilitated by the educator with the whole class moving from one destination to the next as a group. The activity has been designed with 20 stops, however it can easily be divided in half. The secret phrase works if the activity is stopped after collecting Climate Clue #11: explore. The second half of the phrase is completed when the entire journey is over.

Pre-trip planning: Before passing out the iPads, review continents and oceans on a world map with the class. This map can be a good reference if students are having difficulty locating one of the destinations. After the geography review, pack your bags and get ready to go!

Destinations and Climate Clues (in order):

1. Arctic Tern .....................................migration
2. Oil Fields .......................................energy
3. Miner .............................................coal
4. Cow ...............................................burp
5. Dromedary Camel .........................dogsled
6. Oranges for Market .......................berries
7. Air Travel .......................................train
8. Alpaca ...........................................muskox
9. Iceberg ..........................................glacier
10. Wind Turbine ..............................renewable
11. Felicity Ann ..................................explore

NOTE: The first part of the secret phrase is complete at this point!

12. Coffee ............................................local
13. Purple Saxifrage .............................permafrost
14. Polar Bear ......................................sea ice
15. Freighter ........................................cargo
16. Krill .................................................food web
17. Pacific Herring ................................ice seal
18. Great Barrier Reef ..........................coral
19. Underwater Government Meeting... island
20. Edmund Hillary ................................adventure

How to reveal the secret phrase: Each destination will prompt the student to identify one of the Climate Clues. As each Climate Clue is discovered they can be taken down and set aside for later use when the secret phrase will be revealed. On each clue one or two of the letters has a number associated with it. These are the letters that will be used to form the phrase. The spacing for the phrase is shown below in the Post-Trip Discussion section. This phrase will help guide our plan of action and keep us focused on what we can do to help slow the effects of climate change!

Time to travel: Script: Our first destination is not in the Destination Guide Booklet, but it will give us a chance to familiarize ourselves with the functions of the app. We are going to Alaska! And specifically, see if you can find a Yupik mask that is located on the Seward Peninsula. The Seward Peninsula is just south of the Arctic Circle and is where Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is located. This is a land dominated by willows, lichens, mosses and grasses of the tundra and is an area where you can find caribou, brown bears, muskox, hundreds of species of migratory birds, and so much more. It is also an area that is seeing the effects of climate change more rapidly than in other parts of the world. It is a great place to begin our journey! Once you have located the Yupik mask, move to the northern part of the state and find and read about the Northern Lights. (This will give us a chance to practice moving around the app a bit and to review our directions). Aren’t the Northern Lights beautiful! Did you see the picture and read about what causes them? Ok, now we’re really ready to begin!

All destinations and talking points for the Climate Quest can be found within the Destination Guide Booklet. There is a set of Climate Clues that can be placed in a location visible to the students that are designed to reveal a secret phrase at the end of the Climate Quest. After the students arrive at a new destination and learn about it they will guess which Climate Clue is associated with that particular location. When the Climate Clue has been guessed it can be set aside until it is time to reveal the secret phrase at the end of the Quest. Don’t Forget! Climate Clues 1 – 11 reveal the first part of the secret phrase and are a nice stopping point to complete the activity in one class period.

HAVE FUN!

 

Assessment

Post-trip discussion:

Whew! What a journey! Once all of the Clues have been collected (either up to “explore” or the full set) the secret phrase can be revealed. It is a very simple phrase but it has great meaning because we really can have an impact on slowing the effects of climate change!

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1

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11

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C'

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After the phrase has been revealed, brainstorm some ideas of helpful actions that will slow the effects of climate change! Think of things you can do individually, as a classroom, school, and community. There are conservation efforts that can be made in our homes, at our schools, when we go shopping, when we travel, and in all of our daily activities!

Conclusion: We were able to visit some amazing places and see how the global climate is changing. Even though some of these effects are being seen thousands of miles away that doesn’t mean that they will not affect other parts of the world, or us. Everything is connected. We know that we can do our part to slow down the effects of climate change so the Arctic Tern can continue its normal migration, the tundra will not transition to trees, polar bears will continue to have sea ice to hunt on, and future generations will be able to visit and see some of the amazing places that we did! C’mon, let’s start!



Extensions

  • Explore more about how climate change is affecting where you live! Write a short report to be presented to the class. Go paperless and have the students create their presentations on the iPad!
  • Become citizen scientists! Encourage the students to keep a notebook and observe things around them. Organizations like the National Phenology Network and the National Audubon Society have been collecting data for years which helps determine and pinpoint how certain migration patterns have been changing and how seasons have been shifting. And this is something YOU can do in your backyard! What a great way to get involved and have a positive impact!
  • Hold a Conservation Challenge at your school! Challenge other classrooms to reduce their energy consumption, to buy and eat local, to always recycle and use reusable products. Set goals and see who wins! And then talk to your community about it! Stewardship starts at home!



Additional Resources

Climate Clue Photo Sources:

Coal, from Carlson, Ann. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Coal, June 19, 2012, part of Legal Planet, The Environmental Law and Policy Blog, www.legalplanet.wordpress.com, Berkley Law/UCLA Law/ University of California, http://anncarlson.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/coal.jpg

Burp, from www.eatrealmeat.blogspot.com, http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jqLu4IHdV8/UGD58WXIRkI/AAAAAAAAABk/PxQNmoTwSuY/s1600/mad+cow.jpg

Glacier, Muir Glacier, Bruce Molnia, Aug 1980, from USGS Release: Most Alaskan Glaciers Retreating, Thinning, and Stagnating, Says Major USGS Report, http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/images/2008-10-6/Molnia%20-%20Fig%2023A%20-%20Muir%20-%201980.jpg

Cargo, from Discover How to Save Hundreds on your Next Cruise, Sunshine and Sails blog, Part of Travel Nation Group, http://sunshineandsails.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/cargo-cruise.jpg

Food Web, image created by Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, from The Arctic and Antarctic, www.marinebio.org, http://amap.no/acia/Files/MarineFoodWeb_150.jpg

Ice seal, NOAA Will Not List Two Spotted Seal Populations as Endangered or Threatened Oct, 2009, http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/images/spottedsealleaving.jpg

Coral, NOAA Photo Library, http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/bigs/expl0126.jpg

Island, King Island, National Trust for Historic Preservation, www.preservationnation.org, http://www.preservationnation.org/assets/photos-images/issues/11-most-endangered/King-Island-Structures_mr.jpg

All other photos are Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, NPS Photos.