Fundamental Concepts: Connecting Elementary Science Topics to Climate
Wondering how to connect your classroom content with climate science? The interdisciplinary nature of climate science creates opportunities to connect to a number of fundamental concepts that you teach about every day. It can be tricky however, to break down the often complex big ideas of climate science for elementary students. This page uses the relevant elementary fundamental concepts of the Next Generation Science Standards (Core Disciplinary Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Nature of Science Practices) to show how connections can be made to the big ideas of climate science, ideas that the U.S. Global Change Research Program has identified as essential for every citizen to know (Climate and Energy Literacy Principles).
What is Climate and Energy Literacy?
According to the Climate Literacy Framework from the US Global Change Research Council, Climate Science Literacy is an understanding of your influence on climate and climate's influence on you and society.
According to the Energy Literacy Framework from the US Department of Energy, Energy Literacy is an understanding of the nature and role of energy in the universe and in our lives. Energy Literacy is also the ability to apply this understanding to answer questions and solve problems.
Download the color booklet, Climate Literacy Framework by the US Global Change Research Program
Download the color booklet, Energy Literacy Framework by the Department of Energy
Nature of Science: Connections to Climate
Understanding the nature of science is not only foundational to comprehending the body of knowledge that makes up climate science, but it also helps students appreciate how scientists have arrived at their conclusions, and how this knowledge is revised as new evidence is collected. These latter concepts can in turn help students recognize how scientists have arrived at the conclusion that human actions are contributing to global climate change. Students should understand the differences between hypotheses, laws and theories, and recognize that scientific concepts are based on rigorous testing, scientific evidence, and are part of a diverse system of voices that provide checks and balances to ensure these concepts represent our most current understandings.
NGSS includes eight major themes about the nature of science, which are all foundational concepts to understanding any of the Big Ideas in Climate and Energy Education. These are designed to be connected with the practices and cross-cutting concepts of the NGSS. The themes are as follows:
- Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
- Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
- Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
- Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
- Science is a Way of Knowing
- Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
- Science is a Human Endeavor
- Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World
- A matrix, on pages 5 and 6, outlines the learning outcomes for each of the eight themes by grade band: The Nature of Science in NGSS
Engineering Design: Connections to Climate
The NGSS Engineering Design disciplinary core ideas outline strategies that students should understand and then apply to solve problems. Because climate change is such an expansive and relevant problem with many opportunities for solutions, it can serve as an ideal subject for students to practice these strategies. Designing ways to decrease energy or water use, use renewable energy, reuse materials, plant trees, and grow food from community gardens are all solutions that students can implement locally. Students can also engineer solutions that are meant to adapt to a changing climate, such as structures that hold up to increasing sea levels or storm intensity. Focusing on solutions is empowering for students.
"By asking questions and solving meaningful problems through engineering in local contexts (e.g., watershed planning, medical equipment, instruments for communication for the Deaf), diverse students deepen their science knowledge, come to view science as relevant to their lives and future, and engage in science in socially relevant and transformative ways." - National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Crosscutting Concepts: Connections to Climate
Climate science is not confined to one discipline- it spans many disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and engineering, to name just a few. Scientific research in the real world does not function in these defined buckets, and the Crosscutting Concepts in the NGSS help to scaffold ideas across disciplines. These seven Crosscutting Concepts serve as foundational concepts to better understand climate science at any age level and are integral to the science behind climate and energy topics:
Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.
Understanding patterns is a fundamental concept that is key to understanding climate. By its very definition, climate is the long-term averaged weather over a set period of time, and scientists use recurring atmospheric characteristics to describe the climate of a region, typically averaged over 20-30 years. This look at different timescales is also how scientists know that the climate is changing- they use data to look for changing patterns over time to try to understand the factors that are influencing the changes.
Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.
This is what climate science is all about! Some of the main questions scientists are trying to answer currently include: What is causing climate change? What are its effects on our environment? How do our actions cause climate change to increase or decrease? In order to understand the causes and effects of climate change, scientists use sophisticated models that incorporate the many variables influencing climate change, which enables scientists to better predict and explain what could happen to our environment under various circumstances.
In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system's structure or performance.
Scale is a foundational concept in understanding the climate because it helps students differentiate between weather, which is described by short time scales in small, localized areas, and climate, which is described by longer time scales across larger regions. Comprehending scale, proportion, and quantity helps learners understand how to measure atmospheric data (like on a thermometer) and interpret what these measurements mean.
Defining the system under study—specifying its boundaries and making an explicit model of that system—provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.
The climate is a giant system with many variables. As we learn more about our climate, scientific models become more and more sophisticated, becoming closer and closer representations of what is actually happening. Challenging models with various observations allows scientists to test the models and gain a better understanding of how changes to one variable in the system may affect other variables.
Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems' possibilities and limitations.
Climate on Earth is determined by the amount of incoming radiation from the sun. This energy is scattered, reflected, or absorbed by our atmosphere. If absorbed by the atmosphere, it is either absorbed or reflected by the Earth's surface, where it then may be stored or transformed into heat or motion, giving rise to a wide variety of weather and water movement in the atmosphere and ocean. Energy transfer drives the climate system.
The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.
Studying the structure and function of plants allows students to understand how vegetation serves as an important carbon sink. Additionally, an organism's structures and functions, and its ability to adapt, will influence how that organism is able to handle changes in its environment. Examples of species that are particularly impacted by climate change include polar bears, pika, corals, sea turtles, salmon, and moose, though most species on the planet are impacted by climate change in some way.
For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study.
Earth's climate is able to support life on our planet because of the natural greenhouse effect, which provides relative stability to the climate: Incoming solar radiation heats up Earth's surface. Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere then trap heat being emitted from Earth's surface, keeping temperatures fairly constant and allowing Earth's surface temperatures to remain within a range that supports life.
Without these greenhouse gases and their ability to trap heat, Earth's temperature would render the planet inhabitable. However, increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere trap additional heat, which causes our climate to warm. On a geological time scale, Earth's climate has had periods of greater and lower stability, mostly driven by changing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Comparisons of current and previous climate data indicate that we are in a time of increasing and unprecedented change.
Disciplinary Core Ideas of the NGSS: Connections to Climate
The Disciplinary Core Ideas provide the key concepts that students need in order to understand a discipline. To understand how the core ideas of NGSS provide foundational knowledge to the Climate and Energy Literacy Principles, refer to the tables below. Relevant Disciplinary Core Ideas have been linked, by grade band, to the Climate and Energy Literacy Principles that they support.
|K Disciplinary Core Ideas||How it Connects to Climate and/or Energy||Climate Principles||Energy Principles|
|PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer ▪ Sunlight warms Earth's surface.||Earth's weather and climate are mostly driven by energy from the Sun.||CLP 1,1A||ELF 2.3|
|LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms ▪ All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.||Local climate determines the amount of sunlight, food, and water available in particular areas for plants and animals to live and grow. Energy flows through food webs, from producers (plants) to consumers and decomposers.||ELF 3.2, 3.4|
|ESS2.D: Weather and Climate ▪ Weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time. People measure these conditions to describe and record the weather and to notice patterns over time.||Understanding weather is the beginning of understanding climate. Weather data collected and recorded across time and space is what helps scientists notice patterns that describe the climate system.||CLP 7A||ELF 2.3|
|ESS2.E: Biogeology ▪ Plants and animals can change their environment.||Plants take up carbon dioxide thus helping to remove it from our atmosphere. Animals, mainly humans, have increased greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels, which has caused the climate to change more rapidly than ever seen before. Humans also have the ability to change their behaviors to lessen their impact on the environment.||CLP 3E CLP 2, 2A, 2F|
|ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems ▪ Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.||Various human technologies designed to make life more comfortable (most notably technologies that burn fossil fuels) have increased greenhouse gases leading to climate change. However, humans can also take individual actions, help develop newer greener technologies and contribute to large scale solutions that can mitigate and lessen the impact of climate change.||ELF 4.1-4.7; ELF 5.1-5.7; ELF 6.1-6.8; ELF 7.4-7.6|
ESS3.A: Natural Resources
▪ Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and
they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use
natural resources for everything they do.
|Life on Earth requires resources which are largely dependent on or are a product of the local climate (food, water). Humans also use natural resources, including natural resources like coal, oil and natural gas, to provide energy that fuels various technologies (cars, indoor heating/cooling, lights, etc.). The burning of these resources is the main driver behind the rapid increases in climate change that has been observed over the last century. Harnessing cleaner natural resources (wind, solar, hydropower) are examples of more sustainable cohabitation with the natural world.||CLP 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D||ELF 4.1-4.7; ELF 5.1-5.7; ELF 6.1-6.8; ELF 7.1-7.6|
|ESS3.B: Natural Hazards ▪ Some kinds of severe weather are more likely than others in a given region. Weather scientists forecast severe weather so that the communities can prepare for and respond to these events.||Not every place will experience climate change the same. Increases in various kinds of severe weather will be observed depending on region (ie. drought, hurricanes, blizzards, thunderstorms, etc.). Changes in the ecosystem due to global warming will increase severe weather, such as warming ocean waters will result in more and stronger hurricanes. Weather forecasts are necessary tools for hazard preparation and response.||CLP 7C. CLP 5C, 5D||
|1st Grade Disciplinary Core Ideas||How it Connects to Climate and/or Energy||Climate Principles||Energy Principles|
|PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation▪ Some materials allow light to pass through them, others allow only some light through and others block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach. Mirrors can be used to redirect a light beam. (Boundary: The idea that light travels from place to place is developed through experiences with light sources, mirrors, and shadows, but no attempt is made to discuss the speed of light.)||This concept provides the basis for understanding how electromagnetic radiation (the sun) warms the planet and interacts with various atmospheric molecules and planet surfaces differently. When sunlight reaches the planet it can be reflected back into space or the atmosphere, or it may be absorbed by the planet surface or atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap radiation in the atmosphere, keeping our planet warm and suitable for life, though rising levels of these gases are leading to an increase in the warming of our planet.. When sunlight reaches the planet's surface, the presence of snow or ice on surfaces results in higher reflectivity and less warming, whereas dark water or land results in less reflectivity and a greater amount of warming.||CLP 1A, CLP 2E|
|ESS1.A: The Universe and its Stars ▪ Patterns of the motion of the sun, moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, and predicted.||The motion and patterns of the sun and the moon relative to the earth help explain the differences we observe between seasons and latitudes.. Over longer time scales these patterns can explain the warming and cooling cycles of Earth due to planetary positioning (Milankovich cycles) that have resulted in glacial and interglacial periods.||CLP 1C, CLP1D|
|ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System ▪ Seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset can be observed, described, and predicted.||Examining length of day and seasonal temperature changes can help students understand seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset. Especially pivotal is understanding how the angle of the sun influences the amount of light reaching the surface, and how sunlight reaches higher latitudes at a lower angle spreading the sunlight over a larger area.. This spreads the energy over a larger area, decreasing the amount of direct sunlight absorption and thus energy (think of a flashlight being angled upward).||CLP 1C, CLP 4A|
|2nd Grade Disciplinary Core Ideas||How it Connects to Climate and/or Energy||Climate Principles||Energy Principles|
|PS1.B: Chemical Reactions ▪ Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed. Sometimes these changes are reversible, and sometimes they are not.||Heat expansion of water and melting land ice both contribute to sea level rise, although melting land ice is a larger component. This is an irreversible process, unless the Earth begins to cool again. Also, as water gets warmer, it eventually evaporates, adding more water vapor to the atmosphere, which actually serves as the largest contributor to the Earth's greenhouse effect.||CLP 7A|
|LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems ▪ Plants depend on water and light to grow.||Local climate, along with groundwater, determines the water available in particular areas. Changes in water availability will affect the types and ability of plants and animals that can live and grow. Humans depend on water to irrigate crops for food.||CLP 3|
|ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth ▪ Some events happen very quickly; others occur very slowly, over a time period much longer than one can observe.||Earth experiences natural cycles over long periods of time when it gets colder and warmer (glacials and interglacial periods). These happen on time scales of 20,000-100,000 years.. This type of climate change occurs very slowly. The climate change that has been happening over the last century is occuring much faster than earth's natural climate periods.||CLP 1D|
|ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems ▪ Wind and water can change the shape of the land.||With climate change, extreme weather events will change the amount and location of wind and water, thus changing the land. With permafrost thawing and sea ice melting, coastal areas are being degraded partially due to exposure to the open ocean. Extreme storms and precipitation events can cause flooding and storm surges that can also change the shape of the land.||CLP 7A, 7C|
|ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes ▪ Water is found in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Water exists as solid ice and in liquid form.||Water in the ocean is a primary driver for climate and precipitation. Changes in climate can change the distribution of freshwater resources. Water supports life and therefore changes to climate will affect all life dependent on this resource. Water in its solid form can melt and contribute to sea level rise. Water plays a major role in the storage and transfer of energy in the Earth system. Water vapor serves as the primary greenhouse gas helping to trap heat from the sun within our atmosphere.||CLP 2B, CLP 3, CLP 7A , 7B||ELF 2.4|
|3rd Grade Disciplinary Core Ideas||How it Connects to Climate and/or Energy||Climate Principles||Energy Principles|
|LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience- When the environment changes in ways that affect a place's physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.||Climate change affects the conditions of an environment, and species have adapted to these conditions across multiple generations and long time periods. Species are struggling to adapt during this period of rapid climate change. Notable key species affected by climate change include corals, pika, polar bears, moose, and humans, among many others.||CLP 3A, 3C, CLP GPF|
|LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity- Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere.||Plants and animals require certain environmental characteristics to survive and thrive. When that environment changes, some animals cannot adapt or migrate and instead die out, becoming embedded in the fossil record.||CLP 3A, 3C|
|LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity- Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments.||Paleoclimatology is the study of climate using data preserved in rocks, sediments, ice, tree rings, corals, shells, and microfossils. By studying these records, we can learn about climates of the past, and how climate changes in the past affected ecosystems.||CLP 3C|
|LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans- Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.||Climate affects the availability of food, water, shelter, and space, and therefore the habitats that organisms live in. Rapid changes in the environment due to climate change will likely make it more difficult for species to adapt, which could ultimately lead to a decrease in biodiversity.||CLP 3A||ELF 3.4, 3.6|
|LS4.C: Adaptation - For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.||Climate change affects the conditions of an environment, and species have adapted to these conditions across multiple generations and long time periods. Species are struggling to adapt during this period of rapid climate change. Notable key species affected by climate change include corals, pika, polar bears, moose, and humans, among many others.||CLP 3A|
|ESS2.D: Weather and Climate - Scientists record patterns of the weather across different times and areas so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next.||Observations are the basis for understanding weather and climate. Scientists look for patterns in their observations and create models in order to test hypotheses about the causes for past and present climate change and thus make predictions about the future.||CLP 2A, CLP 4A, CLP 5, 5C, 5D|
|ESS2.D: Weather and Climate - Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years.||Weather is what a region experiences on a day to day basis. Climate is what a region experiences on longer time scales.. Understanding the difference between weather and climate is integral to understanding climate change.||CLP 2A, CLP 4B||ELF 2.3|
|ESS3.B: Natural Hazards - A variety of natural hazards result from natural processes. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.||Climate change will create more extreme natural hazards. As the climate changes sea level will rise, some extreme weather events will increase and intensify, and the impacts of these changes will be exacerbated. Humans can take actions to mitigate and be prepared for these hazards.||CLP 6, CLP GPF, GPG, CLP 7A, 7C|
|4th Grade Disciplinary Core Ideas||How it Connects to Climate and/or Energy||Climate Principles||Energy Principles|
|PS3.A: Definitions of Energy- Energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric currents.||Understanding that energy moves through light helps explain how light from the sun is converted into energy that drives our climate.||ELF 1.1, 1.8, ELF 4.1, 4.4, 4.7|
|PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer - Energy is present whenever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat. When objects collide, energy can be transferred from one object to another, thereby changing their motion. In such collisions, some energy is typically also transferred to the surrounding air; as a result, the air gets heated and sound is produced.||Earth's climate system is the result of energy transfer: energy transferred from the sun to the Earth warms our planet, and heat transferred from the equator to the poles drives the atmospheric movement that causes our weather and climate patterns.||ELF 1.1-1.8; ELF 4.1-4.7|
|PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer - Light also transfers energy from place to place.||Understanding that energy moves through light helps explain how light from the sun is converted into energy that drives our climate. As sunlight comes into our atmosphere, it is reflected, scattered, or absorbed, redirecting energy to various places across the planet.||CLP 1A||ELF 1.1, ELF 2.2|
|PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer - Energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light. The currents may have been produced to begin with by transforming the energy of motion into electrical energy.||Energy can be transferred from system to system. Energy can be transported from place to place and transferred to different forms through human electric systems. Humans use electrical energy to power modern systems, such a windfarms, which use wind to create motion which is then transferred into electrical energy.||ELF 1.1, 1.6, 1.8; ELF 4.1, 4.4, 4.7|
|PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life - The expression "produce energy" typically refers to the conversion of stored energy into a desired form for practical use.||Energy can be used for human activities. Humans can convert, transfer, and store energy for practical use. For example, solar panels turn sunlight directly into electricity, which can then be stored, and used later.||ELF 1.1, 1.2, 1.6, ELF 4.1, 4.5, 4.7|
|ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth - Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earth forces, such as earthquakes. The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed.||Rock formations often have fossils which can provide information about previous climates. Fossil records in geologic formations can also provide information about abrupt (and slow) climate change. Scientists have used this geologic scale to look for patterns in Earth's climate history, which helps them predict future climate patterns.||CLP 3C, 3E, CLP 5B|
|ESS2.E: Biogeology - Living things affect the physical characteristics of their regions.||Humans have affected the climate mainly through the burning of fossil fuels, which has increased the amount of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere (like carbon dioxide).||CLP 3E|
|ESS3.A: Natural Resources- Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources, and their use affects the environment in multiple ways. Some resources are renewable over time, and others are not.||Fossil fuels and biofuels come from natural sources (oil, natural gas, coal, food, wood, and ethanol). The burning of these resources has led to an increase in greenhouse gases, adversely affecting our climate. Humans can create energy in many ways - not just from fossil fuels or biofuels. Humans can choose to use alternative energy sources that are renewable in order to mitigate climate change.||CLP GPE||ELF 3.6, ELF 4.1, 4.4, 4.7, ELF 6.4, ELF 7.4, 7.5, 7.6|
|ESS3.B: Natural Hazards - A variety of hazards result from natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions). Humans cannot eliminate the hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.||Climate change will create more extreme natural hazards. As the climate changes sea level will rise, some extreme weather events will increase and intensify, and the impacts of these changes will be exacerbated. Humans can take actions to mitigate and be prepared for these hazards.||CLP 6, CLP GPF, GPG, CLP 7A, 7C|
|5th Grade Disciplinary Core Ideas||How it Connects to Climate and/or Energy||Climate Principles||Energy Principles|
|PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter - Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, but even then the matter still exists and can be detected by other means. A model showing that gases are made from matter particles that are too small to see and are moving freely around in space can explain many observations, including the inflation and shape of a balloon and the effects of air on larger particles or objects.||Greenhouse gasses are small molecules in the atmosphere that keep the Earth warm and sustain life. Their concentration is increasing (we know this through observation of these molecules) thus warming the Earth even more. Aerosols (ex. wildfire plumes), are other small particles that interact with the Earth's atmosphere. Their presence can both warm and cool the Earth, depending on their origin and concentration.||CLP 2C, 2E, CLP 3B|
|PS1.B: Chemical Reactions- No matter what reaction or change in properties occurs, the total weight of the substances does not change.||When land ice melts the weight/mass does not just disappear, which is why sea level will rise when the ice sheets and glaciers disappear. When the ocean warms the mass does not change even though the volume gets larger (thermal expansion). Additionally, when carbon dioxide is released from the burning of fossil fuels, the same amount of carbon remains in the Earth system and simply changes state from solid to gas||CLP 2D, CLP 4G, CLP 7A, 7G|
|PS1.B: Chemical Reactions - When two or more different substances are mixed, a new substance with different properties may be formed.||The increase of concentration of greenhouse gasses changes the composition of the atmosphere giving it slightly different properties. The absorption of CO2 in the ocean changes the chemistry of the ocean causing it to be more acidic.||CLP 6B, CLP 7D||ELF 1.6, ELF 4.3|
|PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter- The amount (weight) of matter is conserved when it changes form, even in transitions in which it seems to vanish.||When ice melts the weight/mass does not just disappear, which is why sea level will rise when the ice sheets and glaciers disappear. When the ocean warms the mass does not change even though the volume gets larger (thermal expansion). Additionally, when carbon dioxide is released from the burning of fossil fuels the carbon changes state but the overall weight of carbon in the system does not change.||CLP 2D, CLP 4G, CLP 7A, 7G|
|PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life -The energy released [from] food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water).||Energy can be transferred from the sun to other systems, such as life (plant matter, organisms, etc.). Fossil fuels were formed by the fossilized remains of plants and animals that originally captured their energy from the sun. Burning of these fossilized remains transfers energy into other sources that power cars, electricity, etc.||CLP 3A||ELF 1.1, ELF 4.3|
|Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion||Food is a biofuel used by organisms to acquire energy for internal living processes. Climate determines the materials and resources available for animals to grow and repair. Changes in the climate will change what food is available for animals, affecting their ability to repair and grow. The temperature in which they live can also change how internal chemical processes operate, which in turn impacts the ability to grow and repair.||CLP 3A, 3C||ELF 3.2|
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms -
Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water.
|Plants utilize carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow (thereby helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere). Local climate determines the water available in particular areas. Changes in water availability will affect the types and ability of plants that can live and grow.||CLP 2D, CLP 3|
|LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems- The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as "decomposers." Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.||The interconnectedness of foodwebs suggest that when one animal or plant is affected the entire food web is affected through a chain reaction. Therefore, those animals and plants that are directly affected by climate change will also indirectly affect other organisms that rely on them or that they rely on.||CLP 2F, CLP 3, 3C||ELF 3.1-3.4|
|LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems- Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Organisms obtain gases, and water, from the environment, and release waste matter (gas, liquid, or solid) back into the environment.||As matter cycles between air, soil, plants, animals, and microbes, the climate affects, and is affected by, these things. Carbon-based life is a major driver of the global carbon cycle, in which carbon is moved through earth's system and released back into the environment in the form of greenhouse gases.||CLP 2D, CLP 3C||ELF 2.5, ELF 3.4|
|ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System- The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.||The motion and patterns of the sun and the moon relative to the earth help explain the differences we observe between seasons and latitudes. Over longer time scales these patterns can explain the warming and cooling cycles of Earth due to planetary positioning (Milankovich cycles) that have resulted in glacial and interglacial periods.||CLP 1D|
|ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems- Earth's major systems are the geosphere (solid and molten rock, soil, and sediments), the hydrosphere (water and ice), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things, including humans). These systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth's surface materials and processes. The ocean supports a variety of ecosystems and organisms, shapes landforms, and influences climate. Winds and clouds in the atmosphere interact with the landforms to determine patterns of weather.||Earth's systems are all interconnected; when one system is altered other systems can also change. Climate change can affect all of these systems and how they interact with one another.||CLP 2, 2F||ELF 2.1, 2.7|
|ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes- Nearly all of Earth's available water is in the ocean. Most fresh water is in glaciers or underground; only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere. (5- ESS2-2)||The distribution of Earth's water plays an important role in Earth's energy budget, water cycle and carbon cycle, thereby also playing an important role in Earth's climate. Besides being a large driver of atmospheric conditions via heat and water transfer across the planet, the oceans are an important sink for carbon dioxide (remove carbon from the atmosphere). Water may absorb heat from the sun, or in its solidified form of glaciers and ice sheets, reflect it. Water vapor serves as an important greenhouse gas. Changes in climate will alter the availability of freshwater across the planet.||CLP 2B, CLP 7B|
|ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems - Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth's resources and environments.||Human activities affect their environment and Earth's systems. These activities have led to climate change. Humans can take action to change their behaviour to help the environment and mitigate climate change.||CLP 2D, CLP 4, CLP 6, CLP GP D-G||ELF 3.6, ELF4.3, 4.6, 4.7, ELF 5.1, 5.6, ELF 6.1-6.8, ELF 7.3|