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Chapter Overview

This chapter describes factors that affect climate, the different climates found worldwide, and the causes and effects of climate change.

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

The two-part lab at the following URL is a good way to begin the chapter. Students will collect and graph local weather data and understand that daily weather measurements are highly variable compared to long-term climate data.

Use a simulation lab to help students understand climate change. The URL below provides access to the simulation and to a worksheet that will guide students through it. With these tools, students will be able to investigate the following research questions: How do greenhouse gases affect the climate? What happens when you add clouds? How do changes in greenhouse gas concentrations affect temperature? Do all atmospheric gases contribute to the greenhouse effect?

Have groups of students do the lab “Global Warming in a Jar,” which is described in the following document. The lab provides a set of simple experiments in which students will use models of Earth’s atmosphere to learn how it is heated. They will also discover how large bodies of water affect atmospheric warming by storing and releasing energy from the sun.

These Web sites may also be helpful:

The URL below is one of the best online climate change resources for teachers. It includes a variety of materials for teaching about climate, climate change, and sustainability across the curriculum. You can explore tips, advice, and ideas for teaching this potentially controversial and misunderstood topic, addressing misconceptions, making interdisciplinary connections, and making the topics relevant to students' lives.

Go the following URL for “Climate Change,” a technology-supported middle school science inquiry curriculum. The curriculum focuses on essential climate literacy principles with an emphasis on weather and climate, Earth system energy balance, greenhouse gases, paleoclimatology, and how human activities influence climate change. Students can use geospatial information technology tools (Google Earth), Web-based tools (including an interactive carbon calculator and geologic timeline), and inquiry-based lab activities to investigate important climate change topics. “Climate Change” is aligned with Essential Principles of Climate Literacy in addition to national science and environmental education standards.

At the following URL, you can download a climate change guide that contains information and activities relating to climate change that are suitable for grades 7–12.

You can access many climate change resources for teachers and students at this URL: http://www.globalsystemsscience.org/uptodate/cc.

At the URL below, you can link to numerous games and simulations relating to climate.

This guide points K-12 educators to the best sites for teaching about climate change: several that offer first-rate background material, and others that include detailed lesson plans and experiments. It begins with the top ten things students people need to know about global warming and why there is so much controversy surrounding this issue.

Explore best practices for teaching global climate change to middle- and high-school students with these free, self-paced modules for teachers. Each module includes STEM resources that will increase your knowledge of climate change concepts and can be used directly with students.

Pacing the Lessons

Lesson Class Period(s) (60 min)
17.1 Climate and Its Causes 1.5
17.2 World Climates 1.5
17.3 Climate Change 1.5

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