Elementary school teachers can incorporate climate change lesson plans into their science curriculum in a number of ways, from comprehensive study to snapshots. 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. Basic lesson plan questions (“What is climate change?” “How do we know Earth is warming?”) are covered, but the site also offers inspiration for art projects or even science fairs. Science fair project ideas include carbon foot-printing, sea level and glacier analysis, and weather forecasting, among others.
- NASA’s Climate Kids: NASA’s Climate Kids is intended to be used by both teachers and students. There are interactive guided tours and individual topic areas, like water, air, energy, and technology. The site allows individual students to explore subjects of their choice, or they can work through each section one at a time as part of 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.
- Journey North: This website offers 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. The teacher portal lists possible learning tools to engage with the data collected, including maps, graphs, calendars, artifact museums and art projects.
Know of other great websites to teach climate change? Email us at editorial[at]education.cu-portland.edu, and we’ll add to this list!