What sets this unit apart from other classroom resources on climate change is that, rather than focusing on the human impacts of this ecological crisis, it stresses the impacts of warming temperatures, rising sea levels, calamitous weather events, and other phenomena on wildlife and habitat. It addresses challenges facing species, like whooping cranes, polar bears, Coho salmon, and monarch butterflies, as well as ecosystems, like grasslands, forests, shorelines, and alpine meadows. It encourages young people to ask questions and find solutions to help protect our natural world from climate change.
- It is linked thematically with the Common Framework of Science Learning Outcomes, K-12 (Pan-Canadian Protocol for Collaboration on School Curriculum) and is suitable for use with a wide range of students.
- It complements a variety of school subjects, including art, biology, earth science, environmental science, geography, language arts, math, physical education, physics, and social studies.
- It introduces a national survey of biological indicators of climate change, which engages students and the public in gathering scientific data everywhere from schoolyards to wilderness areas.
How to Use This Package
These guidelines provide just one approach to teaching a unit on climate change. Feel free to choose from among the lessons and resources included in this package and use them in ways that best suit your needs.
- Curriculum Connections
- What is Climate Change?
Assign this resource sheet to students as homework or as a classroom reading assignment. If it is beyond their reading level, introduce the content orally.
- Lesson 1: Climate Change Challenge
Students role-play caribou and habitat components to demonstrate the impacts of climate change on the Arctic tundra.
- Land of Feast and Famine
On the basis of the readings and Lesson 1, hold a class discussion on climate change, its impacts on wildlife and habitat, and the need for people to become aware of and take action to solve this problem.
- Lesson 2: Natural Inquirer
Students use interview techniques to research and write about an animal or plant affected by climate change.
- Lesson 3: Climate Change and Your Ecological Area
Students investigate interrelationships among plants and animals in an ecosystem and explore how climate change might affect those interrelationships and the natural community as a whole.
Once your class has fully explored the issues and concepts covered in the unit, proceed to Lesson 4 where your students will consolidate their knowledge.
- Lesson 4: Climate Connections
Using picture cards, students play a variety of non-competitive games that explore the connections between human actions, climate change, and positive and negative impacts on wildlife habitat.
To give your class a genuine sense of turning awareness into action, finish the unit with Lesson 5, in which students collect data on plants and animals for our national survey of biological indicators of climate change.
- Lesson 5: Climate Watch
Students participate in a national survey of bioindicators of climate change by gathering data on local plants and animals.
Main Learning Outcomes
- discover the importance of climatic health in the survival of living things;
- recognize that all life forms depend on habitat, of which food, water, shelter, and space are key elements;
- get acquainted with a variety of terrestrial and aquatic species and spaces threatened by climate change;
- realize the distinction between global warming and climate change;
- appreciate how everyday human activities can help or harm climate;
- understand the potential impacts of climate change on biological diversity;
- nurture stewardship of the Earth, including its climate; and
- develop insight by observing biological indicators of climate change.