As NPR noted recently, the new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about the climatic shift taking place. PBS LearningMedia has hundreds of multimedia resources to support teaching climate change in the classroom.
KQED’s Clue into Climate is a comprehensive unit on climate change exploring fundamental science concepts through the lens of climate science and the use of digital media resources. Aligned to State and National Science Standards for grades 4–8, “Clue into Climate” resources are organized into four content strands and offers educators the option to teach individual lessons or an entire strand.
Strand 1: Increased Greenhouse Gases Contribute to Climate Change
In the lessons in strand 1, students learn how the greenhouse effect works and how increased levels of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere are altering climate patterns worldwide. By the end of the strand, students will understand the evidence and models that suggest that climate change is occurring and that human activities are the predominant cause of this change.
Strand 2: Climate Change Affects Ecosystems and the Distribution of Organisms
In the lessons in strand 2, students learn how changes in climate affect the distribution of organisms in ecosystems around the world. By the conclusion of these lessons, students will be able to describe how climate is currently changing and to provide examples of how these changes are altering life for both plants and animals. They will appreciate that when faced with ecosystem change, species must either adapt to the changes or move to more suitable habitats, or else they may face extinction.
Strand 3: Climate Change Affects the Water Cycle
In the lessons in strand 3, students examine how climate change affects the water cycle. By the conclusion of these lessons, students will be able to describe the water cycle and analyze how climate change alters this cycle. They will appreciate the role of the cryosphere as a critical component of the water cycle and will understand how sea level changes affect plants and animals as well as human societies.