Sustainability Education Resources

Sustainability Education Resources

Climate Change, Climate Justice + Sustainability lesson plans and supporting resources:

 

 

Environmental + Sustainability Education Organizations + Publications

 

Educator Professional Development: Workshops + Support

 

California and Bay Area Sustainabilty Initiatives

 

Other Environmental + Sustainability Education Resources

Have feedback about the resources or more you’d like to share?
We’d love to hear from you!

CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network
Understanding Climate Change
A People's Curriculum for the Earth
Extreme Weather and what to do about it
Green Teacher magazine
Project Learning Tree Environmental Education Guide
UN Sustainable Development Goals
The EverGreen Twins Activity Book
The Story of Stuff
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
Albedo, Melting Ice, and Feedback Loops Lesson Plan

Albedo, Melting Ice, and Feedback Loops Lesson Plan

In BAESI’s new “Albedo, Melting Ice, and Feedback Loops Lesson Plan” lesson, students gain experience with the scientific method while they do two experiments to learn about how changing the reflectivity of Earth’s surface materials and feedback loops impact Earth’s systems: Students gain experience with the scientific method while they do two experiments to learn about how changing the reflectivity of Earth’s surface materials and feedback loops impact Earth’s systems:

  1. Albedo (differences in reflectivity of surfaces)
  2. Melting of ice on land and sea
  3. Feedback loops

First, the class goes outside to observe the phenomenon of albedo first-hand. Then they design experiments to test the important role albedo plays in determining how much incoming solar radiation is absorbed by a substance. They create diagrams to illustrate the process and the concept of feedback loops.

In Part II of the lesson, students investigate two ways that the melting of ice impacts Earth’s systems. They test how floating ice in a container (representing sea ice) and ice melting from outside a container (representing ice on land) affect the container’s water level.

  • Students discover that melting land ice (glaciers) raises sea level, but the melting of sea ice does not.
  • Melting sea ice does, however, reduce albedo and thus lead to more absorption of solar radiation and more warming.

They connect their results to the concept of a positive feedback loop and how it can greatly magnify the impact of an initial change in a system, in this case how warming leads to melting ice, lowered albedo, and more warming.  Enrich / Extend activities are listed to help you meet the needs of all learners.

Guiding Questions

  • How does the reflectivity (albedo) of different substances affect the amount of energy they absorb?
  • How does melting of ice in the sea and on land affect Earth systems
  • How can feedback loops impact Earth’s systems?
  • How can changes in albedo and the amount of ice impact Earth’s climate and vice versa?

Objectives

  • Students will plan an experiment to:
    • Test the effect of albedo on the temperature of different substances.
    • Help them understand how the reflectivity of different types of planetary surfaces can have enormous impact on Earth’s systems.
  • Students will create models of sea ice and glaciers in two containers, testing how the melting of each affects water levels.
  • Students will form hypotheses about the possible connections between albedo, melting ice, and sea level and communicate their ideas orally and in writing.
  • Students will be able to explain the connections among albedo, meltingice, sea level, feedback loops, and climate change orally and 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!

 

"Albedo, Melting Ice, and Feedback Loops" lesson plan
Student shadows on pavement
Iceberg
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

Are We Related? An Evolution Memory Game

In this activity, students explore incidents of homology in nature and analyze similarities and differences in body structures of animals.

Are We Related? Lesson plan (.PDF)
Are We Related? Student worksheet (.PDF)
Birds and T-rex: Evidence (.PDF)
Sharks and Rays: Evidence (.PDF)
Whales and Wolves: Evidence (.PDF)
Lobsters and Insects: Evidence