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Changing Planet: Withering Crops

NASA/Windows on the Universe

This video examines what will happen to crops as Earth's temperature rises and soils dry out because of changing climate. Students learn that a loss of soil moisture causes stress to plants, leading to crop withering. Since humans and animals depend directly or indirectly on plants for food, many societal problems can be expected to arise due to the impact of climate warming on crops and the societies that depend on them.

Video length: 5:50 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Life affects climate; climate affects life
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Effects of climate change on water cycle and freshwater availability
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Human health and well-being will be affected to different degrees from the impacts from climate change
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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Fresh water, limited in supply, is essential for some organisms and industrial processes. Water in rivers, lakes, and underground can be depleted or polluted, making it unavailable or unsuitable for life.
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Conflict between people or groups arises from competition over ideas, resources, power, and status.
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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

  • See the accompanying lesson plan for a hands-on activity that reinforces the video.

About the Science

  • Video addresses impact of increasing global temperatures and resulting decline in soil moisture on viability of grain crops that provide the primary global food supply.
  • Brief segment of video illustrates mechanism by which plant leaves take in CO2 and expire water and how drought conditions stress that mechanism.
  • Comment from expert scientist: This activity has addressed very important issues of potential impacts of heat and water stress in plant growth.

About the Pedagogy

  • See related lesson plan, Changing Planet: Withering Crops - Stressing Over Lost Water, which is linked to the video page.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Windows to the Universe now has advertisements, which may be distracting to students, although subscriptions are available without ads.
  • Slow to load.
  • Can be embedded.

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