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Climate Change, After the Storm

Jeff Thomas, Scott Linneman, Jim Ebert, Central Connecticut State University; INTEGRATE project

This 3-activity sequence addresses the question: "To what extent should coastal communities build or rebuild?" The activity uses social science and geoscience data to prepare an evidence-based response to the question, in targeted US coastal communities.

Series of activities will take about 6-7 hours of in-class time plus homework.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 6 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Reducing human vulnerability to and impacts on climate requires multi-disciplinary, integrated understanding
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPb
Equilibrium and feedback loops in climate system
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2f
Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5c
Climate models are robust enough to be used for guiding decision and actions as response to climate change
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5e
Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a
Increased extreme weather events due to climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7c

Energy Literacy

Water plays a major role in the storage and transfer of energy in the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.4 Water stores and transfers energy.
The effects of changes in Earth's energy system are often not immediately apparent.
Other materials addressing:
2.7 Effects of changes in Earth's energy system .

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

  • Although these three activities would occupy a large amount of class time if used in their entirety, specific parts can be excerpted as needed for a given class. For example, Part 1 leads students through an excellent introduction to climate change and sea level rise. Similarly, parts 2 and 3 assume that students have learned the basics of climate change and takes them into finer detail about the factors that contribute to vulnerability of coastlines. The process of creating a position paper could be applied to many types of issues and assignments.
  • Teaching tips for each activity are provided. They suggest where group vs. individual work is most appropriate, where instructors may need to provide additional guidance, etc.

About the Science

  • Drawing from datasets of atmospheric CO2, atmospheric temperature, sea level, the Greenland ice sheet, and tropical cyclone intensity, this series of activities is designed for students to apply what they have learned about the methods of geoscience to complete an authentic and data-rich, lab-based activity to address the problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?"
  • This sequence of activities is designed to model scientific thinking, and it does so very effectively.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Definition of temporal and spatial data!
    - Students collect, organize, and analyze data (e.g., changes in sea level, ice sheet coverage, and intensity of tropical cyclone data) and visualizations (temperature forecast models under various CO2 emissions scenarios)
    - Students create concept model based on their observations, wonders, and what they learned

    link: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/weather-climate/temperature.html is being updated

About the Pedagogy

  • This sequence of activities is part of a larger curriculum module that explores geoscience methods .
  • While the activity sequence is designed for introductory college courses, it does not require prerequisite knowledge. However, this series of assignments will push students to dig into data and think about how to apply it to a real case.
  • Assessment methods for each step are described.
  • The pedagogy of this activity is thoughtfully designed and will engage students with several types of scientific and social-scientific thinking.
  • Activities are carefully structured and presented, and utilize a rich assortment of datasets, IPCC summaries, and media resources to guide and substantiate student responses to the question posed.
  • Instructor and student materials are provided in online and pdf form.
  • Activities include a variety of approaches including background reading, data analysis, concept mapping, literature review, and preparation of position paper. Formative assessments and rubrics provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Link to overview provided for context; separate links for student and teacher resources.
  • This resource, like others in the Exploring Geoscience Methods curriculum of which this is a part, has materials for instructors and students, including mirrored webpages for student use.
  • Student materials can be accessed via links on the instructor (default) page, or via the left-hand menu.
  • Several datasets require the installation of Google Earth.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 1

HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Cause and effect, Stability and Change

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

Science and Engineering Practices: 6

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating 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-P4.4:Compare and contrast various types of data sets (e.g., self-generated, archival) to examine consistency of measurements and observations.

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-P7.4:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.

HS-P7.5:Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.

HS-P8.1:Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.

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