Sarah Bednarz, Texas AM University, From the On The Cutting Edge activity collection
Activity takes five to six 45-minute class periods.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 4c
Other materials addressing 4d
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
This lesson revolves around the driving question of "What are the causes and effects of ENSO?"
- Students learn about some of the possible economic impacts of El Niño using Peru as an example.
- Students understand the various policies that the Peruvian government could establish to mitigate the negative economic impacts from El Niño.
- Students learn how to analyze satellite data as presented on a map.
- Student hone oral presentation and group collaboration skills.
About the Science
- Students learn about ENSO and then role play policy makers who must decide how to allocate Peru's resources to manage possible ENSO related problems.
- Background information provided in the form of briefings, which are integrated into the activities at appropriate times. Students use the briefings to analyze data and write their responses in logs.
- Weather-effects maps from NOAA and NASA allow analysis.
- Comment from expert scientist: This activity seems fun for students and involves hands-on learning, at home and in the classroom. Students build conceptual understandings by reviewing the data and phenomenon from multiple sources and locations and have to apply what they have discovered. By including the methods of measurement used in examining ENSO phases, students get an opportunity to address the problem in a real world manner.
About the Pedagogy
- Students use their learning about ENSO to take the role of a policy maker in Peru. Students determine how to allocate resources based on predicted weather and climate.
- Lesson contains worksheet-type work along with the role playing game.
- Lesson seems well-scaffolded and organized in a way to allow students to build and use their knowledge.
- Assessment is likely based on the student presentations and worksheet, although this is vague in the lesson plan.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- All materials printable.
- Color printing is necessary for the maps and briefing sheets.
- Information on second and third investigations are not included.
- All material available in download.
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Performance Expectations: 1
HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1
HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 5
HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena
HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.
HS-C3.1:The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs.
HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.
HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
Science and Engineering Practices: 5
HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
HS-P7.1:Compare and evaluate competing arguments or design solutions in light of currently accepted explanations, new evidence, limitations (e.g., trade-offs), constraints, and ethical issues
HS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).