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7 Resources for Teaching About Climate Change

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7 Resources for Teaching About Climate Change

Whether you are a teacher, activist, student or simply interested in understanding climate change, there are many resources available online for learning both in and out of the classroom.  With Climate Week NYC (September 20-26, 2021) just around the corner, there is no better time than now to gather a few lesson plans to teach the next generation about climate change and the importance of sustainable living.

At AquaGrove, we work with educators who teach students of all ages, from K-12 and beyond, and for this reason, every AquaGrove system includes a learning guide so that students can learn about aquaponics and sustainability, as well as ways to apply those lessons to developing a sustainable lifestyle.  The truth is that students today are facing challenges of a future involving increased global temperatures and rising sea levels. They are forced to contend with climate change's consequences and to consider what steps can be taken for a more sustainable future. That being stated, climate change is a massive concept and can be overwhelming to grasp, even for adults. It is essential that the information students (especially younger students) receive is balanced so that they receive the facts, while also learning about ways that they can make a positive difference.  To put it simply, lessons should address causes, effects, and solutions.

For this reason, we have gathered just a few of the many useful resources and lesson plans available for teachers and students of all ages to explore, learn, and take action on climate change:

National Geographic Education

This is a great place to bookmark as you will most likely return to it again and again; it provides inspiring geography-based resources that enable students to explore the world (without leaving the classroom).  The resources are free, so there is no limit to where you and your students can go to learn about the planet.

Climate Kids

Climate Kids appeals to young learners and serves as a toolbox for learning about climate change. The resource addresses topics similar to those on its companion site, NASA Global Climate Change, but makes it engaging for children through cartoons and games. Essential background information can be found in the Big Questions section and is a good place for teachers to start before going more in-depth.  There are games that can be used to understand the carbon cycle, videos explaining what is happening in the ocean and an activities page that is filled with resources and links that can be useful for lesson planning.

NASA Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of the Planet

This resource offers a plethora of information on climate change in one easy place.  Teachers can use NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet as a central part of their curriculum for ecology and earth sciences. It is also useful for research projects, reading assignments, art projects, as well as providing interactive tools.  Just check out the "For Educators" section of the site to get started; it has ready-to-go resources including lesson plans, curriculum modules, professional development, and online communities.

MIT Climate Science, Risk & Solutions

MIT Climate Science, Risk & Solutions is an interactive, online textbook from MIT that can be used as a supplemental resource for high school teachers approaching the topic with their classes. The site offers a historical timeline, graphs, and images with interactive features that will be engaging to teens.  Each chapter contains different elements to engage students including interactive graphs and short quizzes.

Global Goals Week

Global Goals Week is an annual week of action, awareness, and accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals.  The World’s Largest Lesson presents Global Goals Week as a time to shine light on the Sustainable Development Goals and encourage student action. To help mark the occasion, they have curated five easy actions that can be taken by students and schools; there's one for each day of the week (September 20-24, 2021). You can access the school Global Goals Week Action Plan  here.

Our Climate Our Future

Our Climate Our Future is a video experience that educates young people on the science of climate change and empowers them to take action. Through videos, animations, activities, and more, students can study and discuss climate change, the sources of acceleration, the history of our planet's climate, actions being taken, growing climate science fields, and actions students can take now to make a difference. 

Climate Reality Project

The Climate Reality Project has launched their Summer Youth Training series; the series unites youth activists from all over the country to discuss climate impacts and meaningful actions we can take together. The series launched on July 25th, and the full recording of the session is now available here. Session two was held on August 22, and registration is open for session three (“Strategy, Creativity, and Disruption: Case Studies and Organizing Techniques”) which will be held on September 26, 2021.

Additionally, students may choose to join the Climate Reality Leadership Corp and attend their free global virtual training.

With the above listed resources, educators and leaders can demystify climate change data and create more authentic learning experiences for students.  While it is essential that students understand the reality of climate change and its impact on our planet, it is equally as important that they understand how they can help and make a better world possible for everyone.