Community Resilience

Heather Skaza, UNLV
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Article , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Student Guide , Activity , Animation/Movie
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



For this lesson, students will explore ideas related to data and how communities can respond to the effects of climate change. They will use their critical thinking skills to address the big question: how can a community become more resilient to the effects of climate change? The lesson is divided into 5 parts: 1) describing students’ initial ideas about the big question, 2) collecting scientific evidence related to the big question, 3) analyzing the collected evidence and forming an explanation, 4) evaluating and revising student explanations from parts 2 and 3 in light of the current accepted scientific understandings, and 5) sharing and justifying students’ final explanations.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.

Clarification Statement: Examples of key natural resources include access to fresh water (such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater), regions of fertile soils such as river deltas, and high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels. Examples of natural hazards can be from interior processes (such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), surface processes (such as tsunamis, mass wasting and soil erosion), and severe weather (such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts). Examples of the results of changes in climate that can affect populations or drive mass migrations include changes to sea level, regional patterns of temperature and precipitation, and the types of crops and livestock that can be raised.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students explore how communities have had to adapt and change due to the changes brought about to the local area because of resource use and climate change.

HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data on the impacts of human activities could include the quantities and types of pollutants released, changes to biomass and species diversity, or areal changes in land surface use (such as for urban development, agriculture and livestock, or surface mining). Examples for limiting future impacts could range from local efforts (such as reducing, reusing, and recycling resources) to large-scale geoengineering design solutions (such as altering global temperatures by making large changes to the atmosphere or ocean).

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students evaluate ways that case study communities have responded to climate change and propose strategies for how communities can reduce the impact of hazards brought about by climate change in the future.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students are required to use this practice to prepare for their argumentation sessions in part 5: Research Council.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students may need some guidance with ECR development (E- evidence, C- claim, R- reasoning). There are examples provided in the student packet. If this is the first time students are being asked to do this, class examples may need to be generated.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students may identify some ways scientists and engineers are working to improve technologies that reduce impacts related to anthroprogenic climate change, but this is not an explicit part of the focus of the unit.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students will be exploring what climate change is and why it is occurring at a much faster rate than in the past. They will be looking at ways we can increase resilience to changes in the environment by improving technologies to help us cope.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students are guided through a series of activities (readings, video, and discussion) to develop understanding of scientific knowledge and engage in argument from evidence to develop an explanation for how communities can become more resilient to environmental changes, especially those related to climate change.

  • Instructional Supports: While the student guide is very developed, the teacher's guide is not developed. Anticipatory student discussion and possible misconceptions are not identified for the teacher. No example of what a final product should look like is provided to give the teacher an idea of what they should expect of students that are excellent, proficient, or needs improvement with their understanding of concepts.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Teachers can have the opportunity to look at student work while the unit progresses.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Students are required to use internet based videos and readings to guide them through answering the big question. The first video link does not work - a Youtube search of community adaptions to climate change results in a series of videos by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent of various communities - would be acceptable. The article for case study #2 requires a paid subscription.