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Students focus on the three interconnected choices global society faces as Earth's climate continues to change—suffer, adapt, and mitigate—to analyze and predict current and future impacts to Earth's systems. Using videos excerpted from NOVA: Decoding the Weather Machine, students explore ways that adaptation and mitigation strategies can work at various levels to minimize suffering and then develop an evidence-based action plan for their local community.

This learning activity takes one 60 minute class period.

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, 1 Science and Engineering Practice
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Science and Engineering Practice

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPd
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
Humans can take action
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans can take action
Climate is complex
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is complex
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Climate is variable
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is variable
Our understanding of climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Our understanding of climate
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6a
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

Energy Literacy

Other materials addressing:
Energy affects quality of life .
Other materials addressing:
Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
Other materials addressing:
Energy decisions are influenced by several factors.
Other materials addressing:
Human use of energy.
Other materials addressing:
Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow .
Other materials addressing:
Biological processes depend on energy flow.

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

  • The activity provides a printable teaching tips guide.
  • Note on page 4: the word 'suffer'--which is a center piece of this slide--should be more specifically defined.
  • Instructor may want to zoom in to see the data better.

About the Science

  • This presentation covers a large range of topics regarding climate change. These include the distinction between weather and climate, projected consequences, and adaptation and mitigation. The lesson provides consistently valid information in the text.
  • Facts that are stated in videos may be valid, but are not supported by references so it is hard to conclude the robustness of the provided information. For example, the video in page 10 states "the largest uncertainty about the future of climate change is what we decide to do." Uncertainty is a quantifiable term, so having a reference that can support this point would validate this material.
  • On Page 9, it would be helpful to have a reference for the advantages of no-tilling and to have an idea of the percent of land used for farming vs. the percent of land that could potentially benefit from composting. This may not be comparable. For example, equating the mitigation effects of these two actions is erroneous. Farmland may be much larger, and a focus on no-tilling would outweigh the effects of composting. Understanding the relative magnitude of impact for each of these is important to some audiences.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • This resource includes multi-tiered activities including writing, watching videos, predicting, and map reading skills. These are intertwined portions of student interaction are great for supporting learning.
  • Some knowledge of climate change would aid in the student's understanding of this material.
  • The activity provides a printable teaching sequence, including pedagogical notes and questions, assessment methods and background information. Questions for students to consider as they watch culminate with a writing assignment about local actions that can be taken to adapt or mitigate.
  • The videos provide a good background and prompts for research by students.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Integrated share to Google Classrooms button.
  • Also can be assigned through Remind, social media platforms, or with the PBS LearningMedia Lesson Builder Tool.
  • Students will need to create free accounts for PBS Learning Media to use interactive elements. That might be an issue for some schools because of limited access to set up accounts.
  • All aspects of this resource are both visually appealing and easy to use.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:


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