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Stepping Through Climate Science

PINEMAP Project, University of Florida, Project Learning Tree

In this short activity, students create a timeline of climate science over the past 200 years and gather information from a U.S. Forest Service video about mitigation and adaptation strategies undertaken by the Service to address climate change in national forests.

Two 45-minute class periods

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

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

About the Science

  • This activity uses a systems approach in providing an overview of the connections between forests and climate.
  • Produced by Climate Learning Tree/University of Florida with materials from the US Forest Service.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - great introductory lesson on climate change and forests for more science-specific activities
    - the science bolded words are excellent vocabulary words!
    - timeline stepping / graphing is a great tool

    - CO2 concentrations should be updated to reflect current years (the resource lists data from 2013) CO2 is up to 410 ppm! http://www.climatecentral.org/news/we-just-breached-the-410-parts-per-million-threshold-21372

About the Pedagogy

  • Alternate assessment strategies are supplied for teachers.
  • On the home page, http://sfrc.ufl.edu/extension/ee/climate/section1/activity1/ there are three important teacher tools: A video "Tour of the Activity" that lays out objectives and tells instructors exactly what students will be doing and identifies videos or other media that teachers should review, a Check Your Knowledge--Interactive Quiz for educators, and Systems Exercises that can be incorporated.
  • Students assemble a timeline - including both scientific events and policy events - of the history of climate change science, and preview a video on the US Forest Service response to climate change.
  • "Systems Reflections" after each section of the lab tie student results to systems thinking and analysis.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Comprehensive set of teacher materials include answer keys with teacher tips embedded along the way.
  • Video is a good addition to the lab materials.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS3.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Systems and System Models, Cause and effect

MS-C2.1:Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

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.

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