Lesson Plan

Exploring Climate Science (Research Projects)

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Climate, Climate Change, Earth Science, Science and Technology
40 Minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:


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.


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



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 


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



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.