Integrating Climate Change + Other Earth Science Topics with Biology + Physical Science

Integrating Climate Change + Other Earth Science Topics with Biology + Physical Science

BAESI is developing a series of lesson plans designed to help teachers integrate climate change and other Earth science concepts with the other sciences. Part of our motivation stems from a desire to help high school teachers integrate these critically important topics with biology, chemistry, and physics using the NGSS High School Three-Course Model being implemented in many secondary schools today. The lessons also link to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in language arts and math and California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts.

The lessons are adaptable for students in grades 4-12, with numerous adaptations and extensions to help meet the needs of all learners.

Presented in the 5E Instructional Model, the impactful framework helps you and your students:

  1. Engage
  2. Explore
  3. Explain
  4. Enrich / Extend
  5. Evaluate

Each lesson contains these elements to help you integrate them into your instruction:

  • Overview
  • Guiding questions
  • Standards alignment: Next Generation Science Standards, CCSSs, and California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts
  • Teacher background
  • Materials and preparation
  • Teaching suggestions for engaging students in the 5E Model
  • Links to resources to help you and your students expand your knowledge and skills

Each lesson seeks to engage students with one or more scientific phenomenon. Students also gain experience with the scientific method while conducting investigations and/or researching the phenomena. (A good list of other phenomena you might incorporate is here.)

The free lesson plans that connect to climate change issues include:

We hope you and your students enjoy the simulations, investigations, and wide-variety of other activities. We’d love to hear your feedback, including ideas for improvements as the lessons continue to evolve!

 

Iceberg
Student shadows on pavement
Pikas Models + Climate Change lesson plan
"Albedo, Melting Ice, and Feedback Loops" lesson plan
Modeling Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan

Modeling Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan

In BAESI’s new “Modeling Seafloor Spreading” lesson, students create models which show the formation of new oceanic crust through seafloor spreading and its destruction in subduction zones. They incorporate the concept of magnetic polarity reversal evident in the seafloor, one of many important pieces of evidence supporting the theory of plate tectonics. Extend / enrich activities are listed at the end of the lesson, including potential connections to life and physical science concepts and ways to incorporate current research on the possible links between seafloor spreading and climate change.

Guiding Questions

  • What are some ways that the Earth is always changing?
  • How is new seafloor created?
  • How can seafloor provide evidence that the polarity of Earth’s magnetic field has reversed periodically through time?
  • Can changes in the climate affect the seafloor and vice versa?

Objectives

  • Students will create models of ocean spreading centers and subduction zones.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding of the following scientific principles through writing and discussion:
    • Seafloor spreading and how new seafloor is created and destroyed
    • How seafloor provides evidence that the polarity of Earth’s magnetic field has reversed periodically through time
  • Optional: Students will read about current research into the possible connections between seafloor changes and the climate, then form hypotheses to predict the possible connections between the seafloor and climate change.

The lesson is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) & Common Core State Standards, as well as California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts. We hope you and your students enjoy the simulation and other activities and we’d love to hear your feedback!

 

Modeling Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan
Modeling the Formation of Ocean Currents

Modeling the Formation of Ocean Currents

In BAESI’s new “Modeling the Formation of Ocean Currents” lesson, students do experiments with models of ocean saltwater, cold seawater, and warm water to help them understand how cold water and salty water are denser than warm and less salty water. This prepares them to understand the important process of the “great conveyor belt” of water and energy through Earth’s interconnected global ocean. The lesson is designed for grade 5-12 students, with a variety of Enrich / Extend activities listed at the end of the lesson to help you meet the needs of all learners. For instance, it is applicable to high school chemistry and physics classes, as well as earth science classes.

Guiding Questions

  • How and why does ocean water move?
  • Why is that process important for life on Earth?
  • How might the process be changing due to human activities?
  • How can we help restore balance to thermohaline circulation patterns on Earth?

Objectives

  • Students will measure salt accurately to create saline solutions to model seawater of different salinity levels.
  • Students will experiment with different saline solutions and freshwater and demonstrate understanding that increasing salinity increases water density.
  • Students will create models of warm and cold seawater and slowly mix them together, then demonstrate understanding of how decreasing
    water temperature increases its density.
  • Students will form hypotheses to predict the results of their experiments, record their observations, and compare the results with their predictions in writing.

The lesson is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) & Common Core State Standards, as well as California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts. We hope you and your students enjoy the simulation and other activities and we’d love to hear your feedback!

 

Adapted from “Great Ocean Conveyor Belt.”
NOAA: pubs.usgs.gov/pp/p1386a/images/gallery-2/
full-res/pp1386a2-fig31.jpg

Examining Mass Extinctions on Earth

In this activity, students read several articles on specific ages of the Earth and the mass extinction events which concluded them. The articles discuss the time period, types of life present, and the causes and consequences of the mass extinction event. Students then identify important information and answer questions.

Clicking the links will download a file.

Examining Mass Extinctions on Earth (.DOC)
Periods, Life, Tectonics, and Paleoclimates (.DOC)
Mass Extinctions (.DOC)

California CGS Map Presentation Guideline

This guide helps pre-college teachers use the geological map of California in their classroom. The beautiful maps found here can give valuable information when correctly interpreted. Explore the features of the maps and ask questions to stimulate exploration and curiosity.

Clicking the link below will download a Word (.doc) file.

California CGS Map Presentation Guideline