Understanding Global Change
The Understanding Global Change (UGC) Project at the University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology, has created a suite of online and interactive resources to support teaching and learning about climate change and the Earth as a system. UGC materials are developed with support from scientists and classroom teachers, and integrate teaching practices that utilize modeling of phenomena to make student learning visible. These resources support the investigation of local and global actions that reduce human impacts on global climate and ecosystems.
Understanding Global Change resources available on CLEAN include:
- The UGC Earth System Infographic that organizes the complexity of global change processes and phenomena.
- UGC Earth System Modeling Icons and Earth Scene for learners of all ages to construct explanatory models about interdisciplinary science connections and make thinking about global change phenomena visible.
- Examples of UGC high school (adaptable for middle school) instructional units with support from CLEAN, BSCS: Science Learning, and classroom teachers.
- The UGC Unit Planning Guide that provides step-by-step guidance for designing new units or revising existing curricula to include UGC Earth system modeling tools.
More UGC resources will be available soon on the UC Berkeley Understanding Global Change Website.
Click the buttons below the slide to learn more about how to use these resources (download the PPT slides: CLEAN UGC Intro.pptx (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 7.5MB Aug1 19)).
An introduction to the Understanding Global Change Resources
The Earth is a dynamic system made up of many parts, including the land, ocean, mountains, clouds, streams, forests, animals, and humans. To understand the Earth, it is important to explore how the air (atmosphere), water (hydrosphere), land (geosphere), and life (biosphere), including humans, all interact.
In the Understanding Global Change Framework, we can organize the parts of the Earth into three categories: HOW THE EARTH SYSTEM WORKS—ongoing processes that shape Earth through time; CAUSES OF GLOBAL CHANGE—human activities and non-human factors that affect the Earth system processes; and MEASURABLE CHANGES IN THE EARTH SYSTEM—the evidence for global changes through time. Non-human CAUSES OF CHANGE tend to operate over long timescales (thousands to millions of years), while humans are causing major disruptions to the Earth system we can measure over relatively short timescales (decades, years, or less).
Processes and phenomena, represented by icons, can be categorized in the infographic. For example, habitat loss is a Cause of Global Change, ocean circulation is an Earth System Process, and levels of greenhouse gases are a Measurable Change. We can observe these processes and changes in the real world, and we can place them in context in the Earth scene graphic.
Since Earth is a system, every process and phenomenon interacts with other parts of the system. Icons representing processes and phenomena can be used to visualize cause and effect relationships, and construct system models that explain how different parts of the Earth system interact to shape the world we live in. For example, habitat loss can affect the biodiversity of animals and plants. Changes in ocean circulation affect regional water temperatures. Greenhouse gas levels increase because of the burning of fossil fuels.
The more we learn about global change, the more we understand how and why processes and phenomena, such as the greenhouse gases, ocean circulation, and biodiversity, are all interrelated and connected. These Earth system models can be constructed using the UGC Earth system modeling tools.
Additionally, you can construct digital Earth system models in the UGC Interactive, codeveloped with HHMI BioInteractive. The UGC Interactive allows users to save, edit, and export Earth system models and annotations into PowerPoint files.
The UGC Unit Planning Guide provides step-by-step guidance for designing new units or revising existing curricula to include UGC Earth system modeling tools and CLEAN resources. Example instructional units are also available on the UGC pages.
Explore the UGC pages to learn more about these flexible, adaptable tools, and how to design interactive learning experiences about climate change and the Earth system!
Are you interested in designing and testing new resources with other educators? Please join our Understanding Global Change Community!
For more information:
Please contact Jessica Bean