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Natural Climate Change

WGBH, Teachers' Domain

This short video, adapted from NOVA, explains how Earth's position relative to the Sun might be responsible for the dramatic shift in the climate of what is now the Saharan nation of Djibouti.

Video length 3:48 min.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Be sure to point out that diagrams are NOT to scale in the season animation.
  • In middle school, can be used in a climate unit or a unit on cycles of Earth. Would also fit in a unit on the water cycle.
  • High school educators may want to use this video to augment an ecology unit.

About the Science

  • Several lines of evidence for climate change 9000 years ago in this Saharan region are examined.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Contain a good explanation of precession (orbital cycle). The accompanying essay is good. The resource links to national science standards.

About the Pedagogy

  • A good essay and discussion questions accompany the video.
  • Female scientist is featured.
  • Scale, as in most animations of Earth's orbit around the sun, is highly exaggerated.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Picture is grainy if viewed online in full screen mode.

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