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Climate Change Basics

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The video offers a simple and easy-to-understand overview of climate change. It poses basic questions such as 'What is it?' and 'How will it effect us?' and effectively answers those questions.

Video length is 2:47 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emission (energy conservation, renewable energies, change in energy use)
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
Global warming is "very likely" caused by human greenhouse gas emission
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6a
Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6c

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • This video is a useful introduction to climate change, as it is short and to the point. It could be used as a great jumping-off point for a unit or discussion on climate change's many different aspects such as causes, signs and indicators, impacts and effects, solutions. It could also be a jump-off point for a carbon footprint activity.
  • A transcript is provided to assist the educator ahead of time to coordinate the contents of this video with other instructional materials that would have to be supplemented.
  • The video may be too simplified for certain audiences, as, for instance, it identifies only carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Though all of the information is valid, it presents a very simplified picture of climate change.

About the Science

  • Comments from expert scientist: Video is a basic overview of anthropogenically-forced climate change. Easily digestible by non-scientists. Generally, video presents standard expected impacts of anthropogenic climate change, without describing them in detail or mechanistically, or discussing their uncertainty.

About the Pedagogy

  • The pedagogy of the video is well thought out as the video has a straight-forward narrative, starting with the science of causes, effects, and prevention of climate change.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The video is well done and easy to watch on YouTube; it instantly starts playing when you go to the site.
  • A transcript and closed captions are provided.
  • No data or sources are cited in the video.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

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