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Adapting to a Changing World

Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College, InTeGrate; SERC

In this activity, students assess individual and national opinions on climate change and explore strategies that communities are employing to adapt to aspects of climate change already affecting them in addition to those likely to affect them in the future.

Activity takes about one 50-minute class period.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Science and Engineering Practice

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate science improves informed policy and decision-making
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPa
Reducing human vulnerability to and impacts on climate requires multi-disciplinary, integrated understanding
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPb
Strategies of human adaptation to climate change
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPf
Actions taken by different levels of society can mitigate climate change and increase preparedness for current and future generations
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg

Energy Literacy

Decisions concerning the use of energy resources are made at many levels.
Other materials addressing:
5.1 Energy decisions are made at many levels.

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 lesson works best when educators encourage input and opinions of all students.
  • Most of the resources provided for follow-up date from 2012 and prior although the issues addressed are very timely. Educator may want to seek more current information on adaptation strategies undertaken in the key locations targeted in this activity.

About the Science

  • This activity asks students to consider the human and social sides to climate change.
  • Activity explores national attitudes about climate change, illustrates the difference between climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation strategies, and provides structured opportunities to identify effective 21st-century climate change adaptation efforts in the US and elsewhere.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Explanation of why flooding occurs

    - No explanation of why heat waves occur (or what scientists think) https://scijinks.gov/heat/
    - No definition for heat island effect https://www.epa.gov/heat-islands/learn-about-heat-islands
    - All three of the links on the preparation handout are wrong.
    - The new first link should be https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/home/are-you-climate-ready_.html
    - the new second link should be http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/geog/hvri/faq
    - the new third link should be http://artsandsciences.sc.edu/geog/hvri/sovi%C2%AE-0

About the Pedagogy

  • This activity begins with students doing some introspective assignments. They take the 'Global Warming's Six Americas' quiz to assess their beliefs about climate change, and they consider the social vulnerability of their own community to climate-related risks. From there, students engage in a gallery walk to share what they have learned from case studies in the Netherlands, from the insurance industry, and from city planning for heat waves.
  • Assessment materials are included.
  • Activity uses gallery walk as a vehicle for students to respond to, share, and discuss questions that relate to several brief case studies that address adaptation strategies to extreme heat, to flooding, and finally, the US insurance industry responses to climate adaptation.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This activity is well thought out and carefully described. All of the materials are included and each step of the process is thoroughly documented. Supplemental resources are also provided.
  • This activity contains several parts, each of which is well described and could stand alone or be combined with other activities. Educators can use all of the steps here or excerpt the parts that are most relevant to their situation.
  • Links to all resources are functional and all related resources and materials provided with the activity.
  • An instructor guide and a student guide are included. These contain online versions of the reading, plus a study guide that reviews concepts and vocabulary.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

This lesson is part of a larger initiative. The entire Climate Change curriculum can be found https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/climate_change/index.html.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

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.C1:The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

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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