Resources for PreK-8 Activity 84 – The Global Climate

Using data collected from Mauna Loa, students will graph changes in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 46-year period, and identify possible reasons for those changes. They will also learn about the relationship between CO2 and the Earth’s climate, and explore ways to reduce the amount of CO2 they generate.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • Earth Now

    If your students have an Apple or Android device and are interested in Earth Science, Earth Now is a free, 3D app that displays real-time global satellite data of the planet. Students can view carbon dioxide conditions, gravity anomalies, ozone levels over Antarctica, and more. Find more science apps to use with your students in our article 12 Engaging Science Apps for Middle and High School Students and make screen-time fun and educational for them!  

  • What Can Trees Tell Us About Climate Change?

    Learn about the connection between trees and climate change, how tree rings can tell a story about past weather events, and the methods in which scientists are recording this data. What Can Trees Tell Us About Climate Change? is a resource offered by NASA’s Climate Kids, designed for upper-elementary students. Find images, fact sheets, activities, games, and articles on this and a variety of other topics—including the atmosphere, water, energy and weather—to help tell the story of our changing planet in ways that are accessible and engaging.

  • Poster: Animals at Risk from Climate Change

    Animals at Risk from Climate Change is an educational poster developed by the Global Education Project. The poster presents a succinct overview of the fundamental impacts of greenhouse gases and features 25 animals currently at risk because of climate change. Through illustrations, symbols and brief explanatory text, learn about the biological traits and environmental conditions that cause a species to be susceptible to climate change. This 24″ x 30″ poster is available in folded, flat, and laminated formats.

  • Cloud Lab

    Covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, clouds can provide clues about the weather and climate. Using NOVA’s Cloud Lab tool, students will learn about cloud typing and storm prediction. They’ll learn how scientists use sophisticated instruments and data to study the development of Earth’s most powerful storms and better predict their impacts. Then use the same tools to investigate storms developing right now. Cloud Lab includes four activities, a series of videos, interviews with scientists and quizzes. 

  • How Much Hotter is Your Hometown Than When You Were Born?

    This Interactive Climate Change Model, developed by the New York Times, asks: How much hotter is your hometown than when you were born? Global temperatures continue to rise each year and in many parts of the world temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit will become more frequent. Discover how much warmer your hometown is now than when you were born and investigate future projections.

  • The Power of Trees

    For a quick estimate of how trees in your area offset carbon emissions, reduce flood risks, and improve air quality, check out this Power of Trees tool developed by Climate Central. Choose your city from the dropdown menu to quantify the benefits of trees in terms of number of tons of CO2 equivalent removed; number of gallons of storm runoff avoided; and number of pounds of air pollution absorbed. The Power of Trees tool utilizes i-Tree software, developed by the U.S. Forest Service, that measures the impact of trees on many scales. PLT recently developed an accompanying Teaching with i-Tree unit for middle and high school students to discover and analyze the many ecosystem services that trees provide. Students input data they collect in their neighborhood to calculate the dollar value of the benefits provided by a tree, or a set of trees. Educators can download this Teaching with i-Tree unit for free.

  • Offset Carbon Emissions

    Want to help cut back on carbon emissions and slow the pace of global climate change? Check out this NASA produced educational game called OFFSET, appropriate for all ages. In the game you will see how CO2 is produced from burning coal and by gasoline powered cars. Playing the game, you will have to offset these carbon emissions by investing in clean wind energy farms, solar power, and/or electric cars.

  • Animals at Risk from Climate Change Poster

    This poster captures the complex interaction of biological traits and environmental conditions that cause a species to be susceptible to climate change. Thoroughly documented to studies from reliable sources, including the IUCN Climate Change Specialist Group, NASA, NOAA, the US EPA, and the IPCC, the poster features 25 animals that highlight the fundamental impacts of greenhouse gases—causes, effects and risk of extinction—on all forms of life on the planet.

  • Timeline of Earth’s Temperature

    It can be difficult to visually represent climate change. This illustrated timeline of the Earth’s average temperature since the last Ice Age glaciation demonstrates the exponential increase in temperature in today’s world. The piece is a wonderful demonstration of how rapidly the climate is changing compared to historic data. 

  • Desmos Graphing Calculator

    Desmos creates digital math tools, such as this online graphing calculator that students can use for free. They also create activities and their Activity Builder helps teachers create digital math activities. The online calculator has many uses in science and math settings, from graphing functions, plotting tables of data, and evaluating equations, to exploring transformations and more. It is also available as a smartphone app. Read the Desmos blog for tips and ideas for using the calculator in the classroom. 

  • Carbon Cycle: A Musical

    This Carbon Cycle Song and accompanying materials can serve as a great introductory activity to the carbon cycle. The Carbon Cycle Song teaches students about the movement of carbon through the environment, as well as different processes that carbon undergoes to change pools. Accompanying materials include a quiz and brief background information.

  • Greenland’s Petermann Ice Shelf

    Take a journey to Greenland’s largest ice shelf, in this Washington Post article.  Students can watch or read about a once-doubtful scientist whose first hand experiences changed his mind about the role of climate change in the global environment.  Students can learn about climate research and the types of problems scientist see in the field.   

  • The Story of Climate Change – Free Interactive Textbook for Grades 5-8

    Earth Day Network has published The Story of Climate Change, an interactive, digital textbook for middle school students. Use this iTextbook with grades 5-8 to teach climate science through multimedia resources that allow students to explore videos, graphs, and animations of forests, coral reefs, and glaciers with a touch of the screen. The book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. A Teacher’s Guide is also available on Earth Day Network’s website. It includes in-depth activity lesson plans, Next Generation Science Standard Alignments, student action plans, and handy resources to help educators make the most out of every chapter.

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Low-Income Communities

    Investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate protection programs is an important way for state and local governments to provide a variety of benefits to low-income communities, including energy cost savings, job creation, improved air quality, and healthier homes. EPA’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Low-Income Communities guide helps state and local staff connect with local and national initiatives that can assist them in expanding or developing their own EE and climate initiatives in ways that benefit low-income communities.

  • Water Calculator and Conservation Tips

    The GRACE Water Program is home to the Water Footprint Calculator, which estimates the water you use directly from the tap as well as the “virtual water” that goes into producing your food, clothing, and more. The program provides tools, tips and information on water conservation.

  • Carbon Cycle Activity

    Carbon Cycle Activity (similar to “Water Wonders” Water Cycle activity) developed by Carlyn Nichols, PLT educator in Seward, Alaska. Helps relate the carbon cycle to climate change.

  • Climate Change around the World

    An article in BBC News that discusses impacts of global warming in countries around the world and in major sectors of society: health, water, food, ecosystems, coasts, and industry.

  • EPA Tools

    EPA tools let computer users “see” air quality information on a virtual globe:

  • View a Location from Space

    If classes are interested in looking at their school from space (or their house – for that matter) they can try the Map Machine from National Geographic or Google Maps.  

  • The Smithsonian Institution’s Tree Banding Project

    Citizen science programs involve students and teachers contributing to ongoing scientific work. Sign up to participate in The Smithsonian Institution’s Tree Banding Project and contribute to research about tree biomass, and how trees respond to climate. Students around the globe will monitor the rate at which their local trees grow, and learn how that rate corresponds to Smithsonian research, as well as compare their work to other students worldwide. Schools will be selected for participation based on location and when they apply. If selected, the Smithsonian will mail a kit that includes everything students will need to get started.

  • EarthViewer App

    Have you ever wondered what the Earth looked like 400 million years ago? With EarthViewer, a free iPad application, users can explore the Earth’s geologic history. The app tracks the planet’s continental shifts, changes in climate, and explores biodiversity levels over the last 540 million years. Combining visual analysis withe hard data, the app can help students make connections between geological and biological change. 

  • Plant for the Planet Video

    Inspired by Wangari Maathai, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded “Plant for the Planet” and has planted more than 500,000 trees in Germany which he says will help sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Watch Felix’s video, part of the Young Voices on Climate Change series, to learn about his efforts to plant trees for a healthier world.

  • Global Forest Watch

    Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an interactive online forest monitoring and alert system designed to better visualize forest change across the globe. Developed by the World Resources Institute and partners, Global Forest Watch monitors forests across the world in near real time to show where trees are growing and disappearing. The system provides contextual data that fleshes out complex issues surrounding deforestation. It can be utilized by teachers for classroom demonstrations and activities, and by students for research. 

  • EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides an interactive carbon footprint calculator designed for use by students in middle or high school. The calculator begins by asking students to investigate some baseline data points, such as their average home energy usage, transportation habits, and waste disposal process. Then, the calculator offers ways impact reduction by offering tangible conservation tips alongside estimated annual savings. This is an excellent tool for making home connections, as well as a compliment to PLT GreenSchools!