Distance Learning

Climate Connections - Climate Science in Focus

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade


Through the NPS Connections program, students will have a chance to go behind the scenes to learn about real science happening at the Monument and meet researchers who are making it happen. This program is designed around the NPS Connections lesson in the Exploring Climate Science 5th grade and Climate Science in Focus 9th grade curriculum. In “Climate Science in Focus (Climate Connections),” students have a chance to learn about local climate change studies happening at a NPS site through a virtual visit.

The Earth consists of four systems: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, which are interconnected. Changes to one part of the system can have consequences on the others. Changes to global or regional climate can be caused by changes in the sun's energy output or Earth's orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activity.

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.


Students will be able to:
1.      Give at least one example of how climate change is impacting wildlife
2.      State why National Parks are important to climate science


Step 1
Display the DoNow— Describe some ways animals will respond to climate change.

Step 2
1. Display video Hamster-like Pika in Peril and have students propose a hypothesis to the question, "What is happening to alpine mammals such as the Pika?"

Video – Pika in Rocky Mountain http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/animals-news/pika-in-peril-missions-wcvin/

2. Guide students in creating questions for skype session by splitting them in pairs and having them write 5 questions about the climate science being studied at a National Park.

3. Set up video chat with NPS. Go to the Climate Connections Distance Learning page to schedule your virtual visit. 


Distribute exit ticket question—why are National Parks important to climate science and why is climate science important to the National Park Service?




Download Virtual Field Trip Setup Instructions

Download Teacher Instructions

Last updated: October 5, 2015