Lesson Plan

Exploring Climate Science (Research Projects)

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Subject:
Climate, Climate Change, Earth Science, Science and Technology
Duration:
40 Minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
5-ESS3-1

Overview

In “Exploring Climate Science (Research Projects),” students showcase what they learned throughout the unit by completing a final project based on climate change. Our extensive “Exploring Climate Science” curricula unit is broken into eight lessons, each taking 40 minutes to complete. Designed around the 5th grade Next Generation Science Standards, it is a unit easily adapted up for middle or high school use. Teach the entire unit or pull out particular activities. This is lesson 8 of the unit.

Objective(s)

Students will be able to:

1. Students will be able to create a hypothetical research proposal that examines the potential impacts of climate change on the local community

 



Background

Water is essential for life on Earth. Relative water availability is a major factor in designating habitats for different living organisms. In the United States, things like agriculture and water rights are hot topics. Current models predict that average global temperatures are going to continue to rise even if regional climate changes remain complex and varied. These changes will have an impact on all of Earth's systems.

Studies have shown that climate change is driven not only by natural effects but also by human activities. Knowledge of the factors that affect climate, coupled with responsible management of natural resources are required for sustaining these Earth systems. Long-term change can be anticipated using science-based predictive models making science and engineering essential to understanding global climate change and its possible impacts.

National Parks can serve as benchmarks for climate science trends and effects over time because they are protected areas void of human influence. Understanding current climate trends will help set students up to be successful in interpreting and engaging in discussions about climate change, which will lead to informed decision making.

 

 

*Depending on how deeply you would like to explore the activities of the lesson, this lesson could take anywhere between one and three 40 minute lessons. For example on day one, you could explain the project and students could begin work. On day two, students could continue preparing their work and then begin working on their presentations, and on day three students could finish their presentations and share with the class. Conversely, you could do a quick introduction, give students 30 minutes to prepare their grant proposals and then have a quick whip around, share-out, thereby concluding the lesson in a day. The times below are based on one 45 minute lesson.


Day 1- Climate Change

Day 2- Weather vs Climate

Day 3- Snowpack

Day 4- Snow Course Field Trip

Day 5- Watersheds

Day 6- Streamflow Data

Day 7- NPS Connections

Day 8- Research Projects 



Materials

Most of the materials for this unit are provided in the Snow Study Trunk and as downloadable files.



Procedure

Step 1

Explain to students that they will be thinking like a climate scientist today and using what they have learned the past two weeks to create their own climate monitoring project. Explain how in the real world it costs money to conduct research. To get money, scientists apply for grants. Grants are free money that organizations give to scientists to help the planet. Place fake money on table. There is only enough grant money for two groups to do their project. The two best grant proposals will be awarded the funding and will be able to make a difference in the world.

 

Step 2

1. Pass out worksheets 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3. Read through the papers explaining sections if necessary. Be sure to discuss rubric. Explain that grant proposals will be scored using the rubric. Have students score worksheet 8.2 (the model) and discuss the scores given.

2. Ask what could you research? Brainstorm research ideas as a class.

3. Student work time (Students can work in groups, pairs, or individually according to teacher preference). It may be helpful to have computer time available in case students need more background knowledge about a topic. See procedure 6.1 for website ideas.

Assessment

Have students share their ideas. Depending on time, some options include:

-Doing a quick whip around / share out

-Putting proposals on tables and doing a gallery walk of proposals

-Student presentations to the class

-Creating a poster for a mini science fair, etc.