Grades 7-9, 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 climate change affects people in different ways, that climate change has many types of impacts, and that these impacts are different for countries and people around the world. In a role-playing game, students take on the situations of people around the world who are being affected 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 affected. 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: Faces of Climate Change
Students role play to learn about the social, political, economic, and personal impacts of climate change on individuals in other parts of the world.

Activity 4.2: Climate Change Impacts Ecosystem Services

  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 how climate change will affect the natural world, focusing specifically on how changing climates will affect the services that ecosystems provide to humans (economic, environmental, social etc.). 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 will 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 4.3: Calculating Your Ecological (or Carbon) Footprint
Students will understand the concept of a carbon footprint. They will use online calculators to visualize how their choices affect the planet.

Activity 4.4: Personal Choices and the Planet

  1. What Can I Do? This lesson focuses on positive steps students can take to reduce their ecological footprint. During the opening of the lesson, revisit the concept of energy use, then students will identify how changes in their daily habits can reduce their carbon footprint.
  2. School Sustainability Audit: Students use authentic sustainability checklists to audit the energy, paper, waste, and water use at their school. They report back to school administration and propose sustainability measures that can be implemented by the school.