Next Generation Climate contains six lessons on climate change for middle school students. In the curriculum, the students investigate causes of global temperature change, research the major repercussions of climate change, and find out how they can monitor and minimize those repercussions. The PDF is free for downloading from the Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy web page.
This review will focus on Lesson 2, other lessons will be featured in other reviews. In Lesson 2, students focus on data analysis, engage in argumentation from evidence, and evaluate information. In the first part of the lesson, they study the greenhouse effect by playing a game that demonstrates how solar radiation is transformed into heat and may be captured by carbon dioxide. Students determine how human population increase and per-capita consumption are contributing to the rise in global temperature and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere when human impacts are added to the game.
Students then look at various graphs such as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, greenhouse emissions, world population graphs, and solar activity over time. Working in groups, they construct an argument using the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning format to answer the question of why Earth’s climate is changing. They compare multiple arguments, and analyze or interpret the facts presented by other groups.
As the concluding activity, students investigate and write about the human versus natural influences on the climate and make connections to the data provided in the graphs.