5 Topics for Middle School Biology Projects
3 Sites that Offer Elementary Climate Change Lesson Plans
Elementary teachers can incorporate climate change lesson plans into their science curriculum in a number of ways, from comprehensive study to snapshots. Some teachers may choose to include information on clean water preservation into an existing lesson on weather or the elements, while others spend weeks on the language, science, and implications of climate change and human environmental impact. The following sites provide a jumping-off point for teacher inspiration and student engagement throughout the year.
- Climate Change Education. This site is best used as a resource for teachers and parents. It compiles information at different levels, arranged by curriculum, topic and provider. Climate Change Education covers basic lesson plan questions (“What is climate change?” “How do we know Earth is warming?”) but also offers inspiration for art projects or even science fairs. There are examples of posters made by elementary school students promoting green living, from recycling to conserving electricity. The site also lists suggested media, such as DVDs or music, that would pair well with an environmental curriculum. Information is available in English and (in a limited amount) in Spanish. Science fair project ideas include carbon foot-printing, sea level and glacier analysis, and weather forecasting, among others.
- NASA’s Climate Kids. Unlike the last site, NASA’s Climate Kids is very child-friendly. Intended to be used by both teachers and students, it is easy to navigate with large icons and menu options. Kids can watch a video series with animal heroes and get topical advice on project ideas, like making valentines from homemade paper. There are guided tours and individual topic areas, like water, air, energy, and technology. As a result, students can explore subjects they find interesting, or they can work through each section one at a time as a class. One of the most engaging interactive tools is the climate time machine, which allows children to actually see water levels and carbon emissions rising as time passes. The teacher section offers multiple links to other climate change curriculum and games.
- Journey North. Many students learn best by doing, as opposed to reading the research of others. Journey North is an interactive individualized lesson plan that allows students to track migration patterns and seasonal change over time. Instead of a two-week session on climate change around Earth Day, this lesson plan encourages a year-long station with daily time devoted to studying plant growth, the length of the days or animal migrations. Even students in very urban areas can get directly in touch with nature by marking the sun’s position on a window every day at noon for a year, or by counting the squirrels, birds or bugs they encounter during recess. Instead of focusing on scary facts or tips for “living green,” this plan takes a big-picture view of studying ecosystems and inter-connectivity. The teacher portal lists possible learning tools to engage with the data collected, including maps, graphs, calendars, artifact museums and art projects.