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Monday Morning Ready06.09.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

For those seeking to deny the realities of climate change, a popular counterpoint is simply: "The climate has changed before." It is a straightforward argument. And, it is difficult to refute. Thankfully, the amusing xkcd comic has a visualization showing just how misleading this statement can be.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What do you know about climate change? How does the idea of climate change make you feel?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think people have such strong and differing opinions about climate change?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, Randall Munroe aptly shows what the statement, "the climate has changed before," actually means. In what way, if any, were your own thoughts about climate change affected as you scrolled down the cartoon?

Grade 9-10

Which do you think is the better way to relate information about big issues like climate change: detailed scientific reports or cartoons? Why?

LESSON PLAN
Create a Comic Strip about Climate Change

PROCESS:

  1. Instruct students to write one sentence stating their personal opinions about climate change. Then have students review the comic strip about climate change in the article. Invite students to share the statements they wrote before reading the article. Encourage them to explain how the comic strip strengthened or changed their views.
  2. As a class, discuss how comic strips can be a good way to relate technical or scientific information to a mass audience.
  3. Instruct students to create their own comic strips depicting potential scenarios for Earth's climate over the next thousand years. Inform them that they can do this from one of two perspectives: do nothing and proceed as is or make changes to current habits that have been identified as contributing to climate change. Students may use the format presented in the article or come up with one of their own.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their comic strips with the class. As they do, encourage them to explain the connection between certain events and their outcomes in relation to climate change. As a class, discuss the role conservation efforts could play in Earth's future.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Encourage group members to choose a perspective on climate change. Then have them brainstorm ideas on how to best present their views in a comic strip. Give groups time to plan and complete timeline inspired comic strips such as the one in the article. Provide suggestions or assistance as needed.
Grades 5-6:
Review the various formats for creating a comic strip (i.e., one panel, multi-panel or a long and scrolling timeline as was used in the article). Have the class choose one format for all students to use. Then divide the class into small groups. Encourage group members to choose a perspective on climate change. Have them brainstorm ideas on how to best present their views in a comic strip. Give groups time to plan and complete their comic strips.
Grades 7-8: 
Review the various formats for creating a comic strip (i.e., one panel, multi-panel or a long and scrolling timeline as was used in the article). Then divide the class into pairs. Encourage partners to select a format for their comic strips. Then have them choose a perspective on climate change and brainstorm ideas on how to best present their views in a comic strip. Give pairs time to plan and complete their comic strips.
Grades 9-10:
Review the various formats for creating a comic strip (i.e., one panel, multi-panel or a long and scrolling timeline as was used in the article). Instruct each student to select a format to use. Then encourage them to identify which perspective they'd like to choose: do nothing or do something. Give students time to brainstorm ideas and complete their comic strips.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Prehistoric Climate Change and Why It Matters Today
In this lesson, presented by the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, students study rising carbon dioxide and rapid global warming during the Eocene epoch. They examine fossils of tree leaves and incorporate their findings into a mathematical formula to identify average annual temperatures 55 million years ago.

Climate Change Online Conference Series: Archive and Related Teaching Resources
This online conference series invites educators and students to explore Smithsonian research and collections related to the evidence, impact and response to climate change. The site includes the archive of each session along with teacher-created lessons that utilize Visual Thinking Strategies.

Global Warming Wheel Card Activity
In this activity from the National Museum of Natural History, students explore the concept of climate change and the greenhouse effect. They learn the common sources of greenhouse gas emissions that humans generate and create a global warming wheel card that will enable them to see how their own actions generate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global warming.

2016 Was the Hottest Year Ever Recorded
For the third year in a row Earth’s surface and sea temperatures have set new records. Read this Smithsonian article to learn how this trend could impact Earth’s future.

Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely
This online exhibition from the National Museum of Natural History considers the Arctic’s changing climate and what the changes mean for its wildlife, its people and the rest of the planet. The site includes articles, classroom activities, eyewitness accounts and an account of the history and effect of global warming.

How America Stacks Up When It Comes to Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Read this Smithsonian article to learn where the United States ranks when it comes to the top greenhouse gas emitters in the world.

Atmosphere: Change Is In the Air
In these classroom activities from the National Museum of Natural History, students discover how the ever-changing atmosphere transports substances around the globe, protects life from destruction and supports millions of chemical reactions. Choose from several lessons about the role of the atmosphere and how climate change affects this role.
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