Jump to this Curricula »
Oceans and Atmosphere Example
https://cleanet.org/clean/literacy/teach_guidance/oceans_atm.html

Cheryl Manning, CLEAN

This unit allows students to investigate past changes in Earth's climate. Students first explore relationships in climate data such as temperature, solar radiation, carbon dioxide, and biodiversity. They then investigate solar radiation in more depth to learn about changes over time such as seasonal shifts. Students then learn about mechanisms for exploring past changes in Earth's climate such as ice cores, tree rings, fossil records, etc. Finally, students tie all these together by considering the feedbacks throughout the Earth system and reviewing an article on a past mass extinction event.

This series of 10 learning activities each take one 45 min class period.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Curricula supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 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
Humans can take action
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans can take action
Earth's Energy balance
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1b
Axial tilt of Earth governs incoming sunlight and seasonality
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1c
Milankovitch/orbital cycle
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1d
Solar variability has no significant impact on Earth's current warming
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1e
Sun is primary energy
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Sun is primary energy
Ocean as climate control, oceanic conveyor belt; abrupt changes in thermohaline circulation
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2b
Greenhouse effect
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2c
Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Equilibrium and feedback loops in climate system
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2f
Climate is complex
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is complex
Climate impacts ecosystems and past species extinctions
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3c
Life affects climate; climate affects life
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Life affects climate; climate affects life
Climate change vs. climate variability and patterns
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4c
Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
Evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4f
Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4e
Climate is variable
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is variable
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Our understanding of climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Our understanding of climate
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

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 approach is helpful for teachers in that it pulls together many different, high-quality resources to build a comprehensive unit. This unit is built around NGSS performance expectations.
  • Educators may want to consider which resources they will use and organize them in advance as it may get challenging to keep track of them. Links to all necessary resources are included in the unit.

About the Science

  • In this comprehensive unit, students: 1. Analyze data and graphs showing changes over time of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and temperature 2. Identify correlations between geologic, biologic and astronomical impacts with the conditions of the oceans and atmosphere 3. Model possible feedbacks between Earth's systems that create changes in the atmosphere and oceans 4. Explore mechanisms of climate change and the feedbacks.
  • As students visit different types of paleoclimate data sets, they become familiar with different time scales. For example, tree ring records show us changes on the order of years and decades, while older geologic records are more useful on longer time scales, such as thousands or millions of years.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Resource connects what we can learn about the past to infer about the future of our oceans and atmosphere
    - Incorporates a large foundation of contextual information including: the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), Milankovitch cycles, paleoclimate proxies (ice cores, sediments, lake varves), and the chemical constituents of the ocean and atmosphere
    - Introduces feedback cycles

About the Pedagogy

  • A tight linkage with NGSS shows teachers how to build lessons around NGSS performance expectations.
  • Several different instructional methods are used in this activity, such as data analysis, a jigsaw, and analysis of a professional media article.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This unit utilizes other CLEAN resources and lays out a framework to follow, rather than a black-and-white lesson plan. It's assumed that teachers know how to use a jigsaw, and what the NGSS are all about.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Curricula supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

HS-ESS2-7: Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

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.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Stability and Change

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 3

Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence

HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

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


Jump to this Curricula »