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Climate Connections

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Exploring Actions that Affect our World in 2100

Chris Andersen, Shenendehowa CS, Clifton Park NY

Mary Margaret Small, Mark Huber, Susan E. Powers,
Clarkson University Potsdam NY

May 2011


Type:  Integrated unit with five separate activities that build upon each other.

Length:  8 – 10 class periods

Content Area/Course: Earth science, Geography

Targeted Grade Level:  6-12 (adaptable)

Prerequisite Knowledge: General concept of greenhouse gas emissions and resulting climate changes.  Basic world geography

Prerequisite Skills: Google Earth (can develop this skill through project), general internet navigation

Technology/web resources: Google Earth, Internet access

Thinking skill development: Comprehension, synthesis, evaluation

NASA resources used: Global climate modeling results from IPCC DDC database (GISS ER); NASA GISS Surface Temperature Analysis


Students work through a role play activity and ecological footprint calculator to assess their own impact on the earth, as well as those of their role play character.  The information is used to identify a scenario for our world’s future greenhouse gas emissions.  Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate model results are used to evaluate what the world will be like in 2100.  Students see how simple changes in their own lifestyles can affect the impact of their carbon foot print. The IPCC model result component of this unit can be adapted to the student level.  Younger students can look at maps (included here) of temperature anomalies that have already been modeled and plotted as contours.  Older students can retrieve these maps or the data directly from IPCC web site for a closer and more quantitative analysis. The information and interpretation are integrated into a Google Earth file and are presented by each student.