Climate Change Learning Tools

Here's the deal. I'm your eyes and ears in Papua New Guinea, you're the Climate Change researchers.

photo of rainbow and boats

If your teacher hasn't peered over your shoulder and taken a closer look, now's the time to ask them to. The lessons below are designed to take you through the underlying science of the global greenhouse effect, the important gases (think CO2 and friends), sources of the gases, what happens to the climate as a result of warming, how climate has changed through history, what's happening in your neighbourhood, and finally, what you and others can do about it. Phew! It sounds like a lot but we'll get through it faster than it takes us to paddle around PNG... probably.

Begin at the top and work down the list. Your class might set aside an afternoon, or maybe just half an hour a week to work through the lessons. Post your discoveries with other students at Webbing the Islands, contribute to the forum, and see what everyone else is up to. These lessons are designed for Grade 5-8 students (roughly 9-14 years old), but many of the links are informative for everyone. There is an excellent series of modules for students in Grade 9-10 called Teaching Climate Change. Well worth a look for older students.

Lesson 1: Quiz Show
Let's begin our climate change investigations by finding out what we don't know. I hope it's a lot! The more you don't know now, the better. In fact, I hope you get every single question wrong. Good luck.
Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> Australian Bureau of Meterology...
> NOAA: Global Warming FAQ's...
> BBC News climate change quiz- HARD!
> Ecokids Quiz- a bit easier...
> ABC science quiz- I only scored 4/10!

Lesson 2: Build a Greenhouse
Greenhouse Effect!! Aahh, run for the hills, disaster is imminent, save us from the GREENHOUSE EFFECT!! Wait a second, let's not panic. We'll make our own little greenhouse instead and see what it's all about.

Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> EPA Students (USA)...
> An animated diagram...
> BBC's animated diagram- I like this one!
> Downloadable stuff from EPA Victoria...

Lesson 3: Farting Cows
That's right, it's all those farting cows that are to blame for the extra greenhouse gases. This lesson will look at how we (and cows) are part of the ecosystem, and how harmful levels of greenhouse gases are getting into the atmosphere.

Go to lesson plan...
Suggestion: Only do the first part of the lesson presented through this link- the ecosystem simulation part with crayons and paper, talking, explanations and questions.

Background Reading and Links
> Climate Change Office (Aus)...
> Details on cow farting...
> The BBC gets into the farting cow thing too...

Lesson 4: Melting Ice
If it's not the farting cows, it's those frosty extremes at the ends of the Earth causing trouble. What happens when an iceberg melts? What's the difference between an iceberg and an ice cap? More importantly, what happens if the world runs out of ice-cream?

Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) climate lessons...
> Icy landscape photos from the AAD...
> Globalwarming101: Will Steger Foundation education resources...
> Polar Bear Tracker by WWF...
> Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem Experiment education page...

Lesson 5: Backward Thinking
To know where we're going, we must know where we've come from. It's true for sea kayakers and it's true for the climate. By studying the past, scientists can make predictions about the future. Let's see what the life of a tree can tell us about the fate of the world, and all the ice-creams within it.

Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> Discovery Channel climate change timeline...
> NOAA (USA) 100 000 year timeline...
> Tree rings and climate change...
> More on tree rings from the Yukon...

Lesson 6: Little Fixes
Take those flatulent farm animals by the throat, scruff the melting ice-cream by the cone, and find out how we can be part of the solution.

Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> Conservation Volunteers action page...

Lesson 7: One Tonne Challenge
This is the serious part where we actually have to do things a little differently. I know it hurts, but let's get out of that shower faster, walk ourselves to school (even if it takes all day, hmm... probably better if it takes all day), and stop farting so much.

Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> Australian Conservation Foundation eco-calculator...
> ABC's Planet Slayer (grim name!)...
> 36 ways to reduce your carbon footprint...

Lesson 8: Big Fixes
That's all well and good, but there's a few big changes that we need to make too. To make big changes in a hurry, it helps to talk to the big decision makers. Write-on!

Go to lesson plan...

Background Reading and Links
> Members of Australian Parliament...
> Department of Climate Change (Aus)...
> How to get politicians attention...

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