Understanding Global Change Earth System Modeling Tools

It is challenging to represent the complex interactions and feedbacks that explain the causes and consequences of climate change. The Understanding Global Change (UGC) Earth System Modeling Tools help learners of all ages to visualize interdisciplinary science connections and make thinking about global change phenomena visible.

The Earth Scene can be used as the background for explanatory models, and the UGC Infographic Icons can be used to communicate cause and effect relationships in the Earth system. Learners should gather evidence to support their explanations of the causes and consequences of global changes.

Earth system models can be constructed using printed copies of the UGC icons and Earth scene (as seen on the right) or using another image to represent local processes and phenomena. For example, you could use a photo of your school yard or local habitats.

Additionally, you can construct digital Earth system models in the UGC Interactive, codeveloped with HHMI BioInteractive. The UGC Interactive allows users to export Earth system models and annotations into PowerPoint files.

Download the tools

Click the links below to download the PDF files of the UGC Earth Scene and Icons.

Go to the UGC Interactive

Color Earth scene

EarthScene_UGC_2019_24x18_Color.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 2MB Aug19 19)

UGC icons

UGC_Icons_OnePage_FullSet_2019.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 553kB Aug19 19)

Black and white Earth scene

EarthScene_UGC_2019_24x18_BW.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 3.7MB Aug19 19)

Additional versions of the Earth Scene and icons, including resources in Spanish and for grades 3-5, will soon be available on the UC Berkeley Understanding Global Change Website.

Tips for scaffolding the construction of Earth system models:

  • Start with no more than 3-4 icons.
  • Write out explanations of connections as you draw arrows.
  • There might be multiple ways to accurately represent the content connections. It is helpful to keep track of alternative connections since students might construct similar models.

Visit the UGC Units and Planning Guide page to learn more about how to integrate Earth System Modeling into classroom instruction.

Back to UGC Project Introduction