Climate Change Lesson Sets from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE)

Source: National Center for Science Education

Working with experts on climate science and master science teachers, the National Center for Science Education developed a group of lesson sets on climate change aimed at helping science teachers to dismantle the most common and pervasive climate change misconceptions that students bring to the science classroom.

Scientific Consensus: A Tsunami of Evidence

The five climate change core principles—It’s Real, It’s Us, It’s Bad, Experts Agree, and There’s Hope—are each addressed to provide students with overwhelming and definitive evidence that Earth’s climate is changing. This lesson set provides teachers with a powerful tool kit to give students the skills and knowledge to identify and understand accurate science regarding climate change.

Understanding Climate Modeling

Climate models are a critical tool used by scientists to project long-term trends based on past data and present understanding of climate systems. This lesson set guides students through an analysis of real-world climate data to understand how scientists generate models and make future projections.

Back to the Future: Climate Edition

Earth’s climate is constantly changing. Paleoclimatologists—scientists who study ancient climates before current technologies were available to take measurements—provide historical data trends as a baseline for comparison to contemporary climate trends. This lesson set explores how paleoclimate proxies such as ice cores, tree rings, and sedimentary analysis provide evidence for past climates.

Climate Change in Your Own Backyard

Understanding the complexity of climate change can be an extremely challenging endeavor for adults, much less for high school students. By studying climate change in the context of a student’s local community or region—often referred to as place-based learning—the science of climate change can become much more accessible. In this lesson set, students analyze the global, national, and then local impacts of extreme weather events.

Climate Super Solutions

Current climate change patterns will be affecting future generations for years to come. This climate change lesson set explores students’ roles in mitigating climate change as well as adapting to life in a rapidly changing climate. In a lesson set meant to infuse students with hope, students investigate the economic, social, and environmental impacts of climate solutions and gain the confidence to take action in order to help counteract climate change.

These lesson sets are freely available, along with similar lesson sets for evolution and the nature of science, on NCSE’s website at NCSE also offers professional development workshops for teachers to learn how to teach its lesson sets and provides a monthly e-newsletter for science teachers.