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Climate Around the World

Cindy Shellito, SERC Cutting Edge

This activity introduces students to global climate patterns by having each student collect information about the climate in a particular region of the globe. After collecting information, students share data through posters in class and consider factors that lead to differences in climate in different parts of the world. Finally, students synthesize the information to see how climate varies around the world.

Activity takes about one to two 50-minute class periods. Computer access is needed for each student team.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

World's climate definition
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2a
Definition of climate and climatic regions
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4a
Climate is not the same thing as weather – defining difference
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4b
Climate system is subject to the same physical laws as the rest of the Universe
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5a

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations
Other materials addressing:
G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • The synthesis discussion of the class posters could be an opportunity to launch into a discussion of Hadley circulation, ocean currents, semi-permanent highs and lows, etc.
  • Scientist's comment: Students will need some guidance to understand the reliability of different websites for data/information. The suggested starter sites are good but students could go off into unreliable sites. Wikipedia is okay to use but not necessarily reliable and it doesn't really expose students to scientific sources. For example, for a given country, a good place to start would be the country's meteorological organization as opposed to Wikipedia. Activity encourages students to do research but doesn't necessarily help them discriminate the reliability of sources.

About the Science

  • Activity addresses the difference between weather and climate.
  • Best for an educator who is proficient in climate science. The educator needs to have a confident grasp of background knowledge to make this lesson cohesive.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students learn about temperature ranges, precipitation, and extreme weather events for their region and will understand that regional variations in temperature and precipitation exist.
  • Activity gets students to do their own research and thus provides exposure to research.
  • Moves from individual to team/small group to class/large group work.
  • Lesson is well organized, especially the student handout.
  • Activity is more complex than it first appears; many layers of instruction and content knowledge can be added.
  • Multi-part assignment, so teacher needs to pay attention to the timeline and sequence of steps.
  • Includes links to assessment techniques.
  • Includes good educator's notes.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • All materials are provided.

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