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Unit 2: Climate Change, After the Storm

Jeff Thomas, Central Connecticut State University (thomasjed@ccsu.edu) on module writing team with Scott Linneman and Jim Ebert.

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards as detailed below. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more.

Overview

Overview: Students apply the methods of geoscience to address a problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" There is an emphasis on analyzing and interpreting data.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends. MS-P5.1:

Developing and Using Models: Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena. MS-P2.5:

Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships. MS-P4.2:

Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships. MS-P4.1:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source. HS-P8.3:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms. HS-P8.1:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically). HS-P8.5:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence. HS-P7.5:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and/or logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations). HS-P7.6:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence. HS-P7.4:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations. HS-P6.5:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. HS-P6.2:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion. HS-P6.4:

Cross Cutting Concepts

Systems and System Models: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems. MS-C4.2:

Stability and Change: Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system. HS-C7.3:

Stability and Change: Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible. HS-C7.2:

Scale, Proportion and Quantity: The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs. HS-C3.1:

Cause and effect: Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects. HS-C2.4:

Cause and effect: Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. HS-C2.2:

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Weather and Climate: Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate. HS-ESS2.D3:

Natural Hazards: Natural hazards and other geologic events have shaped the course of human history; [they] have significantly altered the sizes of human populations and have driven human migrations. HS-ESS3.B1:

Global Climate Change: Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities. HS-ESS3.D2:

Global Climate Change: Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts. HS-ESS3.D1:

Earth Materials and Systems: The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles. HS-ESS2.A3:

Earth Materials and Systems: Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes. HS-ESS2.A1:

Performance Expectations

Engineering Design: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts. HS-ETS1-3:

Earth's Systems: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems. HS-ESS2-2:

Earth and Human Activity: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems. HS-ESS3-5:

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Sep 18, 2014

Summary

The goal of Unit 2 is for students to apply what they learned about the methods of geoscience to complete an authentic and data-rich, lab-based activity to address the following problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" Students collect, organize, and analyze spatial and temporal data (e.g., changes in sea level, ice sheet coverage, and intensity of tropical cyclone data) and visualizations (temperature forecast models under various CO2 emissions scenarios). Students also read a scientific summary report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Using these sources, students identify relationships from the multiple converging lines of evidence to write an evidenced-based position paper to respond to the above problem.

Learning Goals

By the end of Unit 2, pre-service teachers will be able to:

  • Describe climate change and its impact on the human-built systems such as coastal communities (Activity 2.1).
  • Collect, organize, and analyze multiple lines of geoscience data (spatial and temporal) and describe the relationships and feedback loops among the data sets (Activity 2.2).
  • Construct a concept map/model to illustrate systems thinking (e.g. feedback loops) by linking multiple lines of evidence of the impact of climate-related changes on coastal communities (Activity 2.2).
  • Construct an evidence-based position paper to address the risks that climate change poses to coastal communities (Activity 2.3).

Context for Use

Unit 2 is similar to a lab activity that might be given to a high school science class or an introductory college-level geoscience course. The science content from this unit targets those students who have a limited understanding of climate change, Thus, there is no need to introduce science content prior to implementing this unit. The context of Unit 2 incorporates societal issues (e.g., costs of rebuilding coastal communities) to engage students in learning about climate change. This unit is most effective when students work in groups of two to three. Computers should be available for students so they can collect, organize, and analyze online climate data. This page provides an overview of the activity, and student handouts are available and can be modified to address individual instructor needs.

Unit 2 also aligns with the K–12 Framework for Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as indicated in the table below. Please click on the image to enlarge.

In addition, Unit 2 also aligns with the following high school Common Core of State Standards (CCSS) for Reading and Writing in Science and Technical subjects, as indicated in the table below. Please click on the image to enlarge.


Description and Teaching Materials

Materials

Students should have the following: After the Storm handout (student directions) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 60kB Oct16 14) and Tables 1, 2 and 3 (student work) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Aug27 14). Alternatively, the After the Storm handout has an electronic student page. Other materials needed include: computers and Internet access (student research), audiovisual projector (show videos, etc.), large poster paper (for group work), and loose-leaf paper (for note-taking).

Activity 2 Outline (each part has its own page):

Activity 2.1: The Issue
The aim for Activity 2.1 is to "hook" students by introducing them to the potential impacts of climate change on human-built systems (e.g. the impact of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes on coastal communities). Students watch a high-impact video, analyze climate change data sets, and read a compelling op-ed column.

Activity 2.2: Issue Investigation
For this activity, students use geoscience methods and systems thinking in a data-rich, interdisciplinary exploration of the human impacts of global climate change. They analyze spatial and temporal data of sea level, ice sheet extent, and hurricane intensity; and explore visualizations of future climate projections and sea level rise to identify relationships among the data. In groups, students create a concept map to depict their understandings.

Activity 2.3: Constructing the Argument
During the last activity of Unit 2, students write an evidence-based position paper to respond to the problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?"

Teaching Notes and Tips

Below are general teaching notes and tips for Unit 2. A more detailed description of the Teaching Notes and Tips is located in activity pages for 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.

  • Students can complete this individually, if additional time is given.
  • This activity, in part, could be adapted for use in an online or hybrid setting.

Assessment

Below is a summary of the assessments for Activity 2. A more detailed description of the assessments is located in activity pages for 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.

Formative Assessments:
Activity 2.1: OWL Chart and Muddiest Point
Activity 2.2: Concept Map/Model and "I used to think, but now I know"
Activity 2.3: Position Paper

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »