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Climate Postcards

Lisa Gardiner, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Center for Science Education

Students learn about the climate zones of the world by interpreting graphed data, identifying climate zones described in postcards, and deciding what they should pack to visit each of the locations described in the postcards.

This activity takes approximately 60 minutes

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

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 suggests one hour of teacher prep time, but the described prep could likely be completed in 30 minutes.
  • If teachers know of a recent death of a grandparent in their classroom, this should probably be addressed individually with the student beforehand.
  • Extension projects, such as researching a specific climate and making their own postcard could be used as an assessment.
  • This activity could be modified for 2nd graders with more scaffolding.
  • This activity could easily be adjusted so that it is a friend, or other person traveling instead of "grandma".

About the Science

  • In this activity, small groups of students explore five climate zones (tropical, dry, mild, cool, polar) as defined by the Köppen Climate Classification System.
  • They connect information from postcards from an imagined grandma world traveler to graphical data on climate and rainfall to determine which zones the postcards are from.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Through a clear step by step process, students examine easy-to-read data of each zone.
  • In small groups students discuss each area and decide on clothing they would wear in each zone. Next, they read and look at postcards sent by a fictional grandmother who gives clues about the zones she has visited. Students then decide which zone she sent the post card from.
  • They also explore a map of the world to compare and discuss the zones included in the postcards.
  • Students will need a small amount of experience with reading graphs.
  • The teacher's guide is clear and concise.
  • Assessment can be completed with the use of the extensions.
  • Background data and extensions support the activity well.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Postcards are set up to print front to back, though a teacher will need to make sure their printer is aligned properly.
  • Well organized and no costs or technological requirements.
Entered the Collection: November 2021 Last Reviewed: July 2021

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