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Grades 5-6, Unit 4

Climate Change in My Backyard Activity Descriptions

Unit 4: Predicting the consequences of changes for human civilization

In Unit 4, students learn that individuals have a role in climate change (“are you bigfoot”) that climate change affects people in different ways (“faces of climate change”) and that climate change has many types of impacts (“impacts of climate change”) and that these impacts are different for countries and people around the world. Students begin the activity by calculating their ecological footprint. In a role-playing game, students take on the situations of people around the world who are being impacted by changing climates in different ways. They then consider how their own personal actions contribute to climate change and investigate in more detail its specific impacts on ecological systems and human civilization. Students then choose a region of the world and investigate how this country or area has been impacted. Students present their research to the class. The unit concludes with student reflections on what they have learned about climate change, how it has changed their attitudes and whether they will make any personal changes as a result.

Activity 4.1: Are you Bigfoot? Calculating your Ecological Footprint
Students calculate their ecological footprint and determine how many earths would be needed if everyone on earth lived the same lifestyle as they do.

Activity 4.2: Faces of Climate Change
Students learn how climate change affects individuals in other parts of the world in different ways. In a role-playing scenario, they learn that climate change impacts people differently and that there are economic, social, cultural and political factors that influence each individual’s beliefs about and decisions related to climate change.

Activity 4.3: Impacts of Climate Change

  1. Global Impacts of Climate Change: Students begin to make connections between their actions and climate change. Students participate in a jigsaw to teach one another about the global impacts of climate change on humans and the natural world. In the next activity, students will research impacts of climate change in a specific area of the world.
  2. Regional Impacts of Climate Change: Students research the impacts of climate change for a particular state, region, or country around the world. Students use their research to create a presentation, poster, newsletter, or letter to a government official. Students present their research to the class.

Activity 4.4: Reflection: What I Learned About Climate Change
Students first retake the Global Climate Change Survey they took at the beginning of Unit 1 and compare their answers. Students then look back on their portfolios and reflect on what they have learned about climate change over the course of the curriculum.