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Clearing the Air

PINEMAP Project, University of Florida, Project Learning Tree

In this activity, students learn about the scientific evidence supporting climate change, use this information to evaluate and improve conclusions some people might draw about climate change, and participate in a role-play to negotiate solutions to climate change.

Two to four 45-minute class periods depending on whether or not homework is assigned.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 4 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate science improves informed policy and decision-making
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPa
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
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

  • Be sure to watch the "Tour the Activity (2)" video before you begin.
  • View the Teacher Comments at the bottom of the Activity 2 home page http://sfrc.ufl.edu/extension/ee/climate/section1/activity2/.
  • The Fact or Fiction exercise would be useful at the beginning of any unit on climate change.
  • The PowerPoint presentations may be simplified by reducing the number of slides.
  • Teachers may want to include more data analysis aspects to the activity.

About the Science

  • Produced by Climate Learning Tree/University of Florida with materials from the US Forest Service.
  • Activity deals with understanding and attempting to reconcile different perceptions of climate change in spite of a common body of scientific evidence.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    Excellent resource - I would use this for any level of teaching climate change!
    - Presentation shows figures and plots of variety of climate data such as temperature, precipitation, sea ice, sea level, extreme weather events
    - Great explanation of why climate change is occurring in the evidence powerpoint
    - Future implications explained clearly
    - Greenhouse gas concentrations should be updated to most recent years

About the Pedagogy

  • Alternative teaching strategies are given to address different ability levels of students.
  • On the home page http://sfrc.ufl.edu/extension/ee/climate/section1/activity2/, there are three important teacher tools: A video "Tour of the Activity" that lays out objectives and tell instructors exactly what students will be doing and identifies videos or other media teachers should review, a Check Your Knowledge--Interactive Quiz for educators, and Systems Exercises that can be incorporated.
  • Teacher tips are given in the "Tour of Activity" video.
  • Excellent additional activities (with graphs and riddles) on systems terms and help with understanding why different views on climate change exist.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Lots of background reading for teachers, none for students, a big plus.
  • Comprehensive set of teacher materials included with teacher tips embedded along the way.
  • Well-constructed activity provides guidance and support for both educators and students. Many excellent resources included.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 5

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.7:Ask questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument or the interpretation of a data set.

MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.

MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

MS-P7.1:Compare and critique two arguments on the same topic and analyze whether they emphasize similar or different evidence and/or interpretations of facts.

MS-P7.2:Respectfully provide and receive critiques about one’s explanations, procedures, models, and questions by citing relevant evidence and posing and responding to questions that elicit pertinent elaboration and detail.

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence

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-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-P7.2:Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.

HS-P7.3:Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence, challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining additional information required to resolve contradictions.

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