Focus: In this unit, students investigate the phenomenon of changes that data suggest may be occurring in the earth’s systems. The subtitle of this unit is How do changes in the Earth’s system impact our communities, and what can we do about it? Students are familiar with news reports that discuss a possible increase in floods and droughts, increased warming of the atmosphere, sea-level rising, and greenhouse gases. Is there a scientific basis for concerns, and if so what to these data tell us about changes in Earth’s systems? Students will analyze data and developed new questions as they come to an understanding of the nature of atmosphere shifts. Then they face the issue of what they can do to protect their communities form any possible, harmful changes in the future. This unit allows students to spend time working with classmates to analyze the shared experience, formulate new questions, and developing new strategies for answering them. Students explore concepts that include the following:
- Why are floods and droughts happening more often?
- How would increased temperatures affect evaporation?
- Are there any changes in the air that could be related to rising temperatures?
- Are changes in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere part of the normal cycles that Earth goes through?
- Why is solving the climate change problem so challenging?
As students move through their day-to-day activities, they will also read Core Knowledge literacy selections. These include factual articles, history of the sciences, art and literature, spotting bad science in the media and advertisements, graphics comprehension, research-type articles, reliability of sources, and other areas of science literacy.
- Teacher Guide: 18 Lessons
- Student Reader: 4 Collections
- Lesson can be competed in one or more class periods.
- A Pacing Guide, found in Online Resources, offers the suggestion that the entire unit should take about 33 days to complete if class is held each day.
- A complete list of materials needed to complete the unit is also provided in the Online Resources.
- The Core Knowledge Student Reader includes one reading collection per week for every week of the unit. A week’s reading collection relates to the lessons completed in the previous week.
- The reading is assigned at the beginning of the week with the accompanying writing exercise due at the end of the week.
- The reading and writing exercises are designed to be completed by students independently, with brief, supporting, teacher-facilitated discussions at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the week.
Additional Search Terms for the Student Reader:
• science literacy • climate change • sea-level rise • skepticism • climate event • greenhouse gas • methane • carbon dioxide • global warming • emissions • fossil fuel • acidification • climate refugee • carbon footprint • greenwashing • nonfiction • informational text