A Science Teacher’s Go-To Resources for Teaching Climate Change

Favorite websites from an educator and founding member of the organization Florida Citizens for Science.

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Localizing a topic is always a useful strategy in the classroom, and climate change education is much more powerful if students see its impact near home.

With that in mind, have your class conduct an Internet search for one of your state universities coupled with “climate change” or “global warming.” For instance, in my state of Florida, I searched for “Florida State University” plus “climate change” and found FSU’s Florida Climate Center and its resources. A similar search for the University of Central Florida reveals UCF’s Florida Climate Institute.

Speaking of localizing, the National Park Service has a website devoted to Educator Resources, including lesson plans addressing global warming that focus on specific parks.

Teaching my high school freshman environmental science class, I rely heavily on current events. A subject can be more meaningful when students can see the most recent news stories about the topic. Science News for Students is a good source. An entire section is devoted to Climate Change Chronicles. I also recommend the Weather & Climate section.

Of course, NASA is an authoritative source on this topic. An excellent section of NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet website outlines many basic facts about climate change. For younger students, NASA’s Climate Kids site helps break the big topics down to simpler but no less accurate language. 

For older students, don’t be afraid to use reports written for adults. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States is a hefty yet very readable PDF file you can download. Have small groups of students read assigned sections of the report, and then come together to share with the whole class. 

Project Learning Tree has a great resource for teachers titled Southeastern Forests and Climate Change, but there are also supplements for other regions. It includes lessons and labs that guide students through understanding climate change using real-world, local examples.

The National Center for Science Education, well known for helping schools teach evolution accurately, has also taken on climate change. The Classroom Resources web page has lots of quality information and links. 

Brandon Haught is the communications director of the Florida Citizens for Science and the author of Going Ape: Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom.

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