Get The Lesson
Learn about climate, weather, and the rising surface temperature on Earth.
Get this lesson: You can download the full packet here, or read a condensed version of this unit below.
Worksheet: Download just the worksheet, or there’s a copy included in the packet.
The average temperature of the Earth (15 deg C) is what allows our planet to be habitable. In order to support life our Earth lies in the “sweet spot” of temperatures. Any change in that range threatens life on Earth.
How do we distinguish the difference between weather and climate? Weather is atmospheric conditions which occur over short periods of time, from minutes to hours or days, such as snow, rain, clouds, or wind. Climate refers to long-term averages of temperature, rainfall, and other conditions in a region over seasons, years or decades. This is why monitoring weather patterns over many years is important. Weather data collected includes air chemistry, temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind speed.
Scientists have concluded that our climate is changing, and that global temperatures are rising. Scientific data provides evidence that the Earth’s temp is changing: 2019 was the second warmest year on record, and from 1880-2019, the five warmest years have happened since 2015. Nine of the warmest years have happened since 2005.
You can make a difference – a simple explanation of how humans have impacted climate change, with some easy solutions to help reduce your impact.
The Solution is all around us – an in-depth explanation of three key strategies to help revitalize Earth’s ecosystems today.
What can I do? – a detailed account of many different ways for people to address climate change not only within their lives but together as a society, also touching on human dependence on fossil fuels.
Sample Research Project:
Project: Graphing Global Temps activity – this NASA lesson has students in middle through high school look at global warming trends and graph them. This lesson meets Common Core math and NGSS science standards.
Methods: Use the kit above to have students analyze and graph a data set, and make predictions about rising temperatures over time.
Supplies: computer with internet, pencil and paper
MS-LS2-1; MS-LS2-4 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-ESS3-3; MS-ESS3-4; MS-ESS3-5 Earth and Human Activity
HS-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-ESS3-1; HS-ESS3-4 Earth and Human Activity
SEPs: Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing Explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence
Planning and carrying out investigations
CC: Cause and effect
Stability and change