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  • High School

    Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales. HS-LS2-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales. HS-LS2-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem. HS-LS2-6

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity. HS-LS2-7

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce. HS-LS2-8

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  6. Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity. HS-LS4-6

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • RST.11-12.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2), (HS-LS2-6), (HS-LS2-8)
  • RST.11-12.7 - Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem. (HS-LS2-6), (HS-LS2-7), (HS-LS2-8)
  • RST.11-12.8 - Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information. (HS-LS2-6), (HS-LS2-7), (HS-LS2-8)
  • RST.9-10.8 - Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem. (HS-LS2-6), (HS-LS2-7), (HS-LS2-8)
  • WHST.11-12.7 - Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. (HS-LS2-7), (HS-LS4-6)
  • WHST.9-12.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (HS-LS2-1)
  • WHST.9-12.5 - Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (HS-LS4-6)

Mathematics

  • HSN-Q.A.1 - Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2), (HS-LS2-7)
  • HSN-Q.A.2 - Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2), (HS-LS2-7)
  • HSN-Q.A.3 - Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2), (HS-LS2-7)
  • HSS-IC.A.1 - Understand statistics as a process for making inferences about population parameters based on a random sample from that population. (HS-LS2-6)
  • HSS-IC.B.6 - Evaluate reports based on data. (HS-LS2-6)
  • HSS-ID.A.1 - Represent data with plots on the real number line (dot plots, histograms, and box plots). (HS-LS2-6)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2), (HS-LS2-6), (HS-LS2-7)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-LS2-1), (HS-LS2-2)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This NetLogo simulation, developed at Northwestern University, models three initial populations (grass, bugs, birds) within an ecosystem over time. Settings within the simulation help students to make sense of how disruptions, such as an invasive spe ...

  • This BBC Earth 3.5 minute video may be used as a phenomenon to initiate student three-dimensional thinking about the role of group behavior on both individual and species survival. The video shows cooperative group feeding behavior in several oceanic ...

  • This resource from PBS Learning Media includes a downloadable 4-minute video and a research article summary from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It supports students’ three-dimensional learning about the phenomenon of cooperation within differe ...

  • This lesson plan by New Visions for Public Schools is part of a larger unit called “Ecosystems and Invasive Species” within a one year course called The Living Environment. Each lesson is part of a unit storyline that helps students engag ...

  • This lesson plan by New Visions for Public Schools is part of a larger unit called “Ecosystems and Invasive Species” within a one year course called The Living Environment. Each lesson is part of a unit storyline that helps students engag ...

  • This Data Nugget lesson begins with a phenomenon: an introduced crab species is killing native plants in a marsh ecosystem. The invasive European green crab, introduced into the Great Marsh ecosystem on the North Shore of Massachusetts, uproots eelgr ...

  • This classroom activity from TeachEngineering, a collaborative online digital library, engages students in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of human impact on a selected environment. Students use engineering design to plan a ...

  • BiomeViewer, an interactive app from HHMI BioInteractive, is designed to engage students in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of human impact on biodiversity and the environment. BiomeViewer contains data about biomes, anthrom ...

  • This resource, from Science in the Classroom (AAAS), uses an authentic scientific research paper and an interactive web tool to help students and teachers investigate the phenomenon of forest cover change at different scales over time. The provided f ...

  • Human Energy Systems is one of six units in the Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) curriculum, which was developed through an NSF-funded research collaboration focused on learning progressions to support environmental literacy ...

  • Teacher-fellows at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University  designed this board game to engage students in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of human impact on biodiversity and the environment. St ...

  • This Data Nugget begins with a phenomenon: a salt marsh ecosystem in Gloucester, MA, was changed when a road restricted tidal flow between the salt marsh and the ocean. In 2003, a culvert was constructed that restored tidal flow under the road. Scien ...

  • This nine-minute video shows the phenomenon of prairie dog vocalizations to a variety of threats to their population. The video provides evidence, using sonograms and prairie dog behavioral responses, that each vocalization contains discrete pieces o ...

  • Dead Zones in Coastal Ecosystems is one of a series of Data Point resources from HHMI Biointeractive.  Data Points engage students in analyzing and interpreting data from primary literature in the biological sciences.  This HHMI Data Point ...

  • The SimRiver Simulation, developed by Dr. Shigeki Mayama’s lab at Tokyo Gakugei University, models human impact on water quality of a river. Settings within the simulation help students to make sense of this phenomenon by allowing them to mimic ...

  • This article in NSTA’s November 2016 issue of The Science Teacher describes a set of activities that engage students in three-dimensional learning by using diatom bioassessments to assess water quality and biodiversity in a variety of local aqu ...

  • This NetLogo simulation, developed by Uri Wilensky at Northwestern University, models three populations (rabbits, grass, weeds) within an ecosystem over time. Settings within the simulation help students to make sense of the phenomena of ecosystem re ...

  • This article in the October 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher uses five interrelated  “data-rich problem” tasks to help students make sense of the phenomenon of species loss within the context of a marine ecosystem. By using ...

  • This NetLogo simulation, developed by Uri Wilensky at Northwestern University, models three populations (wolf, sheep, grass) within an ecosystem over time. Settings within the simulation help students to make sense of the phenomenon of carrying capac ...

  • Ecology Disrupted is an online, ecology-based curriculum authored by educators at The American Museum of Natural History. Bighorn Sheep, containing five lessons, is one of three units within this curriculum. The lessons are designed to support studen ...

  • This article in the September 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher describes an investigation designed to help students engage in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of  biodiversity in two natural areas of different ...

  • This article in the May 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher describes three modules designed to help students engage in three-dimensional learning as they explore the phenomenon of natural population growth. Using fruit flies as a model organi ...

  • The lesson contained in this article from the April 2016 issue of The American Biology Teacher is designed to engage students in three-dimensional learning as they participate in The Invasive Mosquito Project (USDA) -- a citizen science project. This ...

  • This article in NSTA’s February 2016 issue of “The Science Teacher” describes how “cover boards” can be used to create microhabitats, models of ecosystems, that allow students to investigate  interactions under diff ...

  •   Modeling Ecosystem Effects of Termite Mound Patterns is one of a series of Data Point resources from HHMI Biointeractive.  Data Points engage students in analyzing and interpreting data from primary literature in the biological science ...

  • This article in NSTA’s December 2015 issue of “The Science Teacher” describes two lessons developed by teachers attending the Crossing Boundaries Project (www.crossingboundaries.org) - a joint venture of The Cornell Lab of Ornitholo ...

  • This open educational resource from Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency (Wayne RESA) in Michigan was developed by a teacher during a professional development workshop. The goal of the lesson is for students to design a solution to a loca ...

  • This article in NSTA’s December 2014 issue of “The Science Teacher” describes a classroom activity that uses engineering design to help students model modern fishing gear to minimize bycatch in the tuna fishery.  (Bycatch is no ...

  • Population Explosion is a computer simulation which allows students to manipulate factors to see what happens over time to a population of sheep within an enclosed field. As the simulation runs, a graph shows the dynamic relationship between the shee ...

  • This is one of 30 lessons from the NSTA Press book Scientific Argumentation in Biology. The lesson engages students in the question: Is our saltwater fish population declining? If so, what policies would be most effective in slowing that decline? The ...

  • In this lesson plan, students use Simpson’s biodiversity index to answer the research question: “How do two wooded areas of different ages compare in species biodiversity?” Simpson’s biodiversity index measures not only how many different species the ...

  • This article in NSTA’s March 2014 edition of The Science Teacher describes how one class studied interdependent relationships in ecosystems by building smartphone apps. Student teams used engineering design principles to define a problem, research an ...

  • This lesson plan on invertebrate biodiversity provides teachers with instructional and laboratory tools to introduce students to ecological fieldwork and data analysis. Five different collection techniques are described; students can build their own ...

  • This online interactive lesson uses skills in calculation, estimation, and graphing to explore factors that influence change in two populations of different scales: lions in the Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania, Africa, and bacteria within a petri dish. ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • Games are useful tools for learning and teaching STEM topics. In this session, we share ideas for how to get your students started designing games - how to begin, parts of games, how to overcome roadblocks, and useful resources.

  • From TeachEngineering - Challenged with a hypothetical engineering work situation in which they need to figure out the volume and surface area of a nuclear power plant’s cooling tower (a hyperbolic shape), students learn to calculate the volume of co...

  • This documents contains all instructions and materials for delivering the "Addressing Potential Impacts of Climate Change on World Biomes: A PBL Unit." Students learn about the complexities of the climate change debate through participation in a simu...

  • In this activity, students examine pictures of pollen grains representing several species that show the structural differences that scientists use for identification. Students analyze model soil samples with material mixed in to represent pollen grai...

  • This is a lab about evidence for past climate change as captured in ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. Students investigate climate changes going back thousands of years by graphing and analyzing ice core data from both Greenland and Antarctica....

  • This carbon footprint calculator is set up for easy-to-use inputs for three sectors: home energy use, local transportation, and home waste generation.

  • This is a team-based activity that teaches students about the scale of the greenhouse gas problem and the technologies that already exist which can dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Students select carbon-cutting strategies to construct a carbon...

  • Students explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. Students create and compare graphs of carbon dioxide and temperature data from one local (Mauna Loa, Hawaii) meteorological stat...

  • This lesson guides a student inquiry into properties of the ocean's carbonate buffer system, and how changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may affect ocean pH and biological organisms that depend on calcification.

  • This activity uses a mix of multimedia resources and hands-on activities to support a storyline of investigation into melting sea and land ice.

  • This teaching activity addresses regional variability as predicted in climate change models for the next century. Using real climatological data from climate models, students will obtain annual predictions for minimum temperature, maximum temperature...

  • This activity identifies and explains the benefits of and threats to coral reef systems. Students read tutorials, describe the role of satellites, analyze oceanographic data and identify actions that can be undertaken to reduce or eliminate threats t...

  • In this activity students use NASA satellite data to study changes in temperature and snow-ice coverage in the South Beaufort Sea, Alaska. They will then correlate the data with USGS ground tracking of polar bears and relate their findings to global ...

  • This activity uses geophysical and geochemical data to determine climate in Central America during the recent past and to explore the link between climate (wet periods and drought) and population growth/demise among the Maya. Students use ocean drill...

  • In this activity, students learn about how climate change is affecting the Arctic ecosystem and then investigate how this change is impacting polar bear populations. Students analyze maps of Arctic sea ice, temperature graphs, and polar bear populati...

  • In this activity, students examine NASA satellite data to determine if sea surface temperature has reached a point that would cause coral bleaching in the Caribbean.

  • Students explore their own Ecological Footprint in the context of how many Earths it would take if everyone used the same amount of resources they did. They compare this to the Ecological Footprint of individuals in other parts of the world and to t...

  • This activity describes the flow of carbon in the environment and focuses on how much carbon is stored in trees. It goes on to have students analyze data and make calculations about the amount of carbon stored in a set of trees at three sites in a w...

  • In this activity learners work in pairs or small groups to evaluate energy use in their school and make recommendations for improved efficiency. Students create and use an energy audit tool to collect data and present recommendations to their class. ...

  • In this activity, students research the relationship between hosts, parasites, and vectors for common vector-borne diseases (VBDs) and evaluate how climate change could affect the spread of disease.

  • This lab exercise is designed to provide a basic understanding of a real-world scientific investigation. Learners are introduced to the concept of tropospheric ozone as an air pollutant due to human activities and burning of fossil fuels. Students a...

  • This Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter is a detailed computer-based exploration in which students learn how various climatic conditions impact the formations of sediment layers on the ocean floor. They analyze sediment core data from the Ross Ice Sh...

  • This activity engages students in the analysis of climate data to first find areas in the southern United States that are now close to having conditions in which the malaria parasite and its mosquito hosts thrive and then attempt to forecast when are...

  • This lesson plan engages students in a real-life exploration of climate change as it is affected by greenhouse emissions from vehicles. The aim of this activity is for students to realize the impact of vehicle use in their family and to give students...

  • In this activity students research the inter-dependencies among plants and animals in an ecosystem and explore how climate change might affect those inter-dependencies and the ecosystem as a whole.

  • In this role-play activity, students take the roles of various important players in the climate change policy negotiation including politicians, scientists, environmentalists, and industry representatives. Working in these roles, students must take a...

  • This lesson plan has students working in small groups to research the Mountain Pine Beetle in Colorado and other inter-mountain Western states. Students identify the factors that control pine beetle population and research how warmer winters and decr...

  • In this activity, students will determine the environmental effects of existing cars and a fleet consisting of their dream cars. They compute how many tons of heat-trapping gases are produced each year, how much it costs to fuel the cars, and relate...

  • This introductory video summarizes the process of generating solar electricity from photovoltaic and concentrating (thermal) solar power technologies.

  • This video introduces the concept of daylighting - the use of windows or skylights for natural lighting and temperature regulation - and how it is a building strategy that can save operating costs for homeowners and businesses.

  • This video describes the role that dendrochronology plays in understanding climate change, especially changes to high elevation environments at an upper tree line. Dendrochronologists from the Big Sky Institute sample living and dead trees, describe ...

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This video examines what will happen to crops as Earth's temperature rises and soils dry out because of changing climate.

  • This video is the second of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. The video highlights the marine mammals and birds and how they depend on Arctic sea ice, as well as questions about how these animals will c...

  • A collection of repeat photography of glaciers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The photos are taken years apart at or near the same location, and at the same time of year. These images illustrate how dramatically glacier positions...

  • This video illustrates conditions under which two infectious diseases - cholera and dengue fever - flourish, and how climate change is likely to exacerbate those conditions. Note: you may need to scroll down the Changing Planet video page to get to ...

  • This video provides background information and teaching tips about the history and relevance of phenology and seasonal observations of plants and animals within the context of rural Wisconsin.

  • This introductory video describes the basic principles of residential geothermal heat pumps.

  • This video provides a simple introduction to wind turbines and how they generate electricity.

  • This video addresses the impact of climate change on several butterfly populations. Warming temperatures lead to shifts in location of populations of butterflies or die-offs of populations unable to adapt to changing conditions or shift to new locati...

  • This introductory video covers the basic facts about how to keep residential and commercial roofs cool and why it is important to reducing the heat island effect and conserving energy.

  • This video focuses on the conifer forest in Alaska to explore the carbon cycle and how the forest responds to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. Topics addressed in the video include wildfires, reflectivity, and the role of permafrost in the global c...

  • In this EarthLabs activity, learners explore the concepts of coral bleaching, bleaching hot spots and degree-heating weeks. Using data products from NOAA's Coral Reef Watch, students identify bleaching hot spots and degree-heating weeks around the gl...

  • A short video that discusses how changing climate is affecting the population of Adélie penguins.

  • This video from the U.S. National Academies summarizes the energy challenges the United States faces, including the technological challenges, and the need for changes in consumption and in energy policy.

  • This video provides an overview of the research of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on converting biomass to liquid fuels.

  • In this video, a team of paleontologists, paleobotanists, soil scientists, and other researchers take to the field in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin to document how the climate, plants, and animals there changed during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum ...

  • C-ROADS is a simplified version of a climate simulator. Its primary purpose is to help users understand the long-term climate effects (CO2 concentrations, global temperature, sea level rise) of various customized actions to reduce fossil fuel CO2 em...

  • This video describes the effect of a warming climate on the tundra biome and specifically the impacts of changing climate on the Rocky Mountain Pika, a small mammal that struggles with summer heat.

  • This video provides a comprehensive introduction to the role of coral reefs, the physiology of corals, and the impacts of ocean warming and acidification on coral survival. It highlights experts from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and the U...

  • This video features changes in the land, sea, and animals that are being observed by the residents of Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada — many of whom hunt, trap, and fish—because of their long-standing and intimate connection with the...

  • This animation illustrates how the hardiness zones for plants have changed between 1990 and 2006 based data from 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the continental United States.

  • This interactive shows the extent of the killing of lodgepole pine trees in western Canada. The spread of pine beetle throughout British Columbia has devastated the lodgepole pine forests there. This animation shows the spread of the beetle and the i...

  • The video addresses impact of warming temperatures on major lakes of the world with specific focus on Lake Superior and Lake Tanganyika. It discusses the science of water stratification and its impact on lake ecosystems and on human populations whos...

  • In this activity, students research various topics about ocean health, e.g. overfishing, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification. An optional extension activity has them creating an aquatic biosphere ...

  • This visualization graphically displays temperature and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere as derived from ice core data from 400,000 years ago to 1950. The data originates from UNEP GRID Arendal's graphic library of CO2 levels from Vostok ice core.

  • This static graph of changes in CO2 concentrations goes back 400,000 years, showing the dramatic spike in recent years.

  • This is the first of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. This introduction to the impacts of climate change in Alaska includes interviews with Alaska Natives, commentary by scientists, and footage from Al...

  • This video clip highlights the effort on by a group of young students to ban the use of plastic shopping bags in the city of Santa Monica. The video documents the effort and provides visual testimony of the effects that trash and specifically plastic...

  • This activity focuses on applying analytic tools such as pie charts and bar graphs to gain a better understanding of practical energy use issues. It also provides experience with how different types of data collected affect the outcome of statistical...

  • In this activity about climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula, learners investigate environmental changes in the living and nonliving resources of Antarctic peninsula and the impact of these changes on Adélie penguin communities. The activity str...

  • This is a debate-style learning activity in which student teams learn about energy sources and are then assigned to represent the different energy sources. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the pros and cons of their source over th...

  • These slide sets (one for the Eastern US and one for the Western US) describe how citizen observations can document the impact of climate change on plants and animals. They introduce the topic of phenology and data collection, the impact of climate c...

  • Coral Reefs in Hot Water is a short video displaying computerized data collected on the number of reefs impacted by coral bleaching around the world.

  • This activity is a learning game in which student teams are each assigned a different energy source. Working cooperatively, students use their reading, brainstorming, and organizational skills to hide the identity of their team’s energy source whil...

  • This is a National Geographic short video that briefly describes how succulent plants in the South African Karoo biome are dying off due to changes in climate.

  • In this activity, students use Google Earth to investigate a variety of renewable energy sources and select sites within the United States that would be appropriate for projects based on those sources.

  • This video introduces phytoplankton - the base of the marine food web, the source of half of the oxygen on Earth, and an important remover of CO2 from the atmosphere. The video also explains how satellites are used to monitor phytoplankton and how wa...

  • A short video on how changing climate is impacting the ecosystem and thereby impacting traditional lifestyles of the Athabaskan people of Alaska.

  • In this activity, students use a spreadsheet to calculate the net carbon sequestration in a set of trees; they will utilize an allometric approach based upon parameters measured on the individual trees. They determine the species of trees in the set,...

  • This Flash animation describes how hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxili...

  • In this activity, students are guided through the process of locating and graphing web-based environmental data that has been collected by GLOBE Program participants using actual data collected by students in Pennsylvania and comparing them to their ...

  • This is a series of 10 short videos, hosted by the National Science Foundation, each featuring scientists, research, and green technologies. The overall goal of this series is to encourage people to ask questions and look beyond fossil fuels for inno...

  • This audio slideshow examines the changes in the ecosystem that will occur to the Arctic due to increasing temperatures and disappearing sea ice.

  • This video focuses on the science of climate change and its impacts on wildlife on land and in the sea, and their habitats in the U.S. There are short sections on walruses, coral reefs, migrating birds and their breeding grounds, freshwater fish, bee...

  • In this video, the mountain pine beetle problem is explained by two scientists. Their research investigates the beetle and how climate change is hastening its spread.

  • This video looks at the impact of changing climate on animal habitats around the world, showing how different creatures are responding to changing temperatures and precipitation patterns.

  • In this video, students learn that the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 was not the sole cause of the decline of species in the local ecosystem. Rather, an explanation is posited for why some animal populations were already in decline when th...

  • This video is part of the Climate Science in a Nutshell video series. This short video looks at the effects of climate change happening right now around the globe, including: more extreme weather events, droughts, forest fires, land use changes, alte...

  • In this activity, students study the relationship between changing climate conditions and the distribution of plants across North America, using a unique tool called the Pollen Viewer. This tool allows the user to animate the retreat of the North Ame...

  • In this video segment, two students discuss the greenhouse effect and visit with research scientists at Biosphere 2 in Arizona, who research the effects of global climate change on organisms in a controlled facility. Their current research (as of 200...

  • This video segment depicts how climate change is impacting the migration of Canada's barren-ground caribou. Changes in the plant community and tree lines will change the prime habitat for some herds of caribou. Caribou are faced with adapting to thes...

  • This video segment examines ethanol, a cleaner-burning fuel alternative to gasoline, and the efforts to produce it more efficiently.

  • This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electri...

  • This is a utility-scale, land-based map of the mean annual wind speed 80 meters above the ground. This map can be used to evaluate the potential for wind energy in the US. State maps and more information are linked from the main map.

  • In this activity, students explore energy production and consumption by contrasting regional energy production in five different US regions.

  • This 3-part interactive and virtual lab activity examines the life cycle of the sea urchin, and how the increasing acidity of the ocean affects their larval development.

  • This video documents the scope of changes in the Arctic, focusing on the impacts of warming and climate change on the indigenous Inuit population.

  • In this video, students learn how scientific surveys of wildlife are performed at a site in Yosemite, California. These surveys, in conjunction with studies from the early 1900s, provide evidence that animal populations in Yosemite have shifted over ...

  • This video describes how geothermal heat resources in California have been tapped to supply 850 MW of electricity. Images and animations show how the area known as The Geysers has been developed to capture steam, produced from trapped rainwater and ...

  • In this short video segment Native Americans talk about climate change and how it impacts their lives as they experience unexpected changes in environmental conditions. They describe observed changes in seasonality, how these changes affect ecosystem...

  • This video profiles the Arctic Inuit community of Sachs Harbour and its collaboration with scientists studying climate change. Changes in the land, sea, and animals are readily apparent to the residents of Sachs Harbour—many of whom hunt, trap, and...

  • This video features CU Boulder Professor Jeff Mitton and his research team, who study the effects of mountain pine beetle infestations on the forest ecology in the Rocky Mountains. They explain the pine beetle life cycle and how they attack trees. A...

  • This video features the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment Experiment near Cheyenne WY, where scientists expose mixed-grass prairie to higher temperatures and CO2 concentrations to study impacts on the prairie for late in this century.

  • This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how designers of city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously.

  • In this video, scientist Dr. Susan Prichard discusses the impact of pine bark beetles on western forests. She explains how climate change, specifically rising temperatures, is exacerbating the problem.

  • This video reviews the benefits and drawbacks associated with growing corn to make ethanol.

  • This video from ClimateCentral looks at the way climate conditions can affect vegetation in the West, and what influence this has on wildfires. Drought and rainfall can have very different wildfire outcomes, depending on vegetation type, extent, and ...

  • In this interactive, students explore, at their own pace, how global climate change may affect health issues. Issues include airborne diseases, developmental disorders, mental health disorders, vector-borne diseases and waterborne diseases.

  • This activity comes at the beginning of a sequence of activities in an energy module. Students observe the transfer of solar energy to different appliances with a solar cell and then they investigate the effect of using different solar sources to s...

  • This series of five activities about ocean acidification incorporates real data from NOAA. The activities are organized as a pathway, with five levels increasing in sophistication, and different data-based inquiry activities.

  • In this interactive, students can investigate a typical hydrogen fuel cell prototype car from its fuel cell stacks to its ultracapacitor, a kind of supplementary power source. The limited-production vehicle seen in this feature is a Honda 2005 FC...

  • In this activity, students learn about the pros and cons of co-firing woody biomass fuels with coal to produce electricity.

  • This hands-on activity introduces students to the process of fermenting different carbohydrate sources into ethanol. Teachers demonstrate yeasts’ inability to metabolize certain food sources.

  • In this activity, students analyze data detailing global energy sources and sinks (uses) and construct a diagram to show the relative scale and the connections between them. Discussions of scale; historical, socio-environmental, and geographic variat...

  • This suite of short video clips is part of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. There are several video segments that discuss different perspectives of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

  • This short video shows how different biomass feedstocks are processed and refined into sustainable biofuels via biochemical and thermochemical processes.

  • This is a long-term inquiry activity in which students investigate locations they believe harbor cellulose-digesting microbes, collect samples, isolate them on selective media, and screen them for cellulase activity. These novel microbes may be usefu...

  • This video reviews key points as well as pros and cons of nuclear power.

  • In this video, NOAA’s Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at the National Climatic Data Center, recaps the temperature and precipitation data for the continental US in summer 2012. It describes how these conditions have led to drou...

  • This beautifully filmed and produced video describes the changes that global warming is already bringing to Northern Canada and Greenland. Local people describe changes to ecosystems, impacts on culture and life styles, and the challenges of melting ...

  • This video segment features subsistence fishing and harvesting in the Northwestern US. The segment was adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington.

  • In this video segment, adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham Washington, Native American elders discuss the impact of climate change on salmon populations and the importance of restoring balance in the natura...

  • This video presents predictions and solutions for range shifts (wildlife corridors) by an iconic species of North American wilderness: the wolverine.

  • In this activity, students investigate the shifting of three penguin communities in response to climate change.

  • In this activity, students explore how the timing of color change and leaf drop of New England's deciduous trees is changing.

  • In this lab activity, students use brine shrimp as a proxy for krill to study how environmental factors impact behavioral responses of krill in the unique environment of Antarctica.

  • This is the seventh of nine lessons in the 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change' website. This lesson addresses climate feedback loops and how these loops help drive and regulate Earth's unique climate system.

  • This video illustrates how one community developed and implemented a sustainable solution to help keep stream water cool enough for healthy fish. Their solution has the added benefit of removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

  • This activity introduces students to plotting and analyzing phenology data. Students use 30 years of data that shows the date of the first lilac bloom and the number of days of ice cover of nearby Gull Lake.

  • This is lesson five of a 9-lesson module. Activity explores the effects of climate change on different parts of the Earth system and on human well-being: polar regions, coral reefs, disease vectors, extreme weather, and biodiversity.

  • Activity is a Project BudBurst/National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) exploration of eco-climactic domains, as defined by NEON, by investigating characteristics of a specific domain and studying two representative plants in that domain.

  • This video is essentially an infomercial about electric cars - components, challenges, benefits - narrated by Antonio Neves of the.News and featuring various members of the auto industry.

  • This video addresses the importance of efficiency in providing power to an increasingly large global population.

  • This video shows 15 years of data obtained via Polar-orbiting satellites that are able to detect subtle differences in ocean color, allowing scientists to see where there are higher concentrations of phytoplankton - a proxy for the concentration of c...

  • This activity covers the role that the oceans may play in climate change and how climate change may affect the oceans. It is lesson 8 in a nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

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    This interactive addresses the question if we can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and help avoid dangerous climate change? Users of this interactive can manipulate changes to various sources and uses (supply and demand) of energy with the ...

  • In this hands-on activity, students explore whether rooftop gardens are a viable option for combating the urban heat island effect. The guiding question is: Can rooftop gardens reduce the temperature inside and outside of houses?

  • These five short videos are an introduction to the pros and cons of energy issues, including cost, choices, efficiency, environmental impact, and scale. The videos are segments of a feature documentary entitled, Switch: Discover the Future of Energy.

  • This video follows Bermuda scientists into the field as they collect data that documents a warming trend in ocean temperatures. BIOS Director Tony Knapp discusses some of the impact of warming temperatures on sea levels, storms, and marine ecosystems...

  • In this activity from NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection, learners investigate how methane hydrates might have been involved with the Cambrian explosion.

  • This video describes how Colorado has planned for and uses clean energy resources to reduce its carbon footprint.

  • This video discusses how methane digesters turn waste from dairy cows, food garbage, and other organic matter into usable gases and other fuels.

  • In this experiment, students investigate the importance of carbon dioxide to the reproductive growth of a marine microalga, Dunalliela sp. (Note that the directions are for teachers and that students protocol sheets will need to be created by teacher...

  • This activity introduces students to stratigraphic correlation and the dating of geologic materials, using coastal sediment cores that preserve a record of past hurricane activity.

  • This lesson sequence guides students to learn about the geography and the unique characteristics of the Arctic, including vegetation, and people who live there. Students use Google Earth to explore the Arctic and learn about meteorological observatio...

  • This video features a number of different climate scientists describing the effects of the increasing amount of carbon dioxide on global climate and proposing a series of solutions to mitigate these effects. Video addresses health problems and other ...

  • This video is about the Rebuild by Design competition offered to address the structural and social vulnerabilities exposed by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Global Forest Watch is an interactive, online forest monitoring and alert system that provides users globally with the information they need to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

  • This activity relates water temperature to fishery health within inland freshwater watersheds as a way to explore how environmental factors of an ecosystem affect the organisms that use those ecosystems as important habitat.

  • This video highlights specific climate change-related phenomena that are threatening the flora and fauna of Yellowstone National Park.

  • This sequence of activities using real-world data to explain the importance of coral reefs and the relationship of coral reef health to the surrounding environment. Unit includes five activities.

  • This resource is a website that is a self-contained, multi-part introduction to how climate models work. The materials include videos and animations about understanding, constructing and applying climate models.

  • This is a multi-media teaching tool to learn about climate change. The tool is comprised of stills, video clips, graphic representations, and explanatory text about climate science. Acclaimed photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice team put this...

  • This interactive visualization provides information in text, graphic, and video format about renewable energy technologies. Resource in the Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, part of EPA Climate Change Division.

  • This activity challenges students to try and meet the world's projected energy demand over the next century, decade by decade, by manipulating a menu of available energy sources in the online Energy lab simulator all while keeping atmospheric CO2 und...

  • In this activity, students play the role of energy consultants to a CEO, assessing and documenting the feasibility, cost, and environmental impact of installing solar power on 4 company facilities with the same design but in different geographical lo...

  • In this activity, students become familiar with the online Renewable Energy Living Lab interface and access its real-world solar energy data to evaluate the potential for solar generation in various U.S. locations.

  • This small-group activity uses engineering concepts to design energy systems for three off-the-grid towns in Mali, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

  • This series of activities introduces students to the technologies of batteries and fuel cells. Activities include a mix of lectures, demonstrations, and lab activities.

  • In this activity, students calculate electricity use by state and determine, using Google Earth, how much land would be required to replace all sources of electricity with solar panels.

  • In this activity, students investigate the impacts of changing climatic conditions on human health and consider the benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation to human health.

  • This 10-question quiz covers some of the major impacts to human health caused by climate change.

  • This video documents the effects of increasing global temperatures on biodiversity (changes in distribution, range, and numbers) and human populations. Adaptations to climate change are also outlined.

  • This video, one in a series of Global Weirding videos featuring Texas climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, attempts to dispel the misconception that Texans don't care about climate change.

  • This online activity challenges students to design a renewable energy system for one of five different cities, each with different energy resource potential and budgets. Students can test their designs using real-time weather data in each city.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers. Part 1 of a 3-part set for the film series.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers II. Part 2 of a 3-part set for the film series.

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers III. Part 3 of a 3-part set for the series.

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.