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Site Guide: Climate Change and Global Warming
Find resources and teaching materials such as activities, course descriptions, visualizations, and effective teaching methods from SERC projects and collaborators for teaching about climate, climate change, and sustainability across the curriculum. Explore tips, advice, and ideas for teaching this potentially controversial and misunderstood topic, addressing misconceptions, capitalize on the interdisciplinary possibilities for teaching about climate, and making this topic relevant to students' lives, even if they are not science majors.
Click the images above to browse teaching activities and course descriptions related to climate change topics. Collections are contributed by faculty and may include service learning projects, writing assignments, field trips, course descriptions and syllabi.
General Collections & Resources
Teaching Climate Change (from On the Cutting Edge) - This site allows educators to locate and use the best resources for teaching about Earth's climate system and the changing climate over the past one million years. Here you will find teaching activities, courses, workshop outcomes, teaching ideas and links to useful teaching resources.
Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) - The CLEAN project, a part of the National Science Digital Library, provides a reviewed collection of resources coupled with the tools to enable an online community to share and discuss teaching about climate and energy science.
The Hurricane - Climate Change Collection (from On the Cutting Edge) - Large hurricanes have captured the attention of many citizens in recent years and prompts the inevitable question about the relationship between climate change and hurricanes. This website focuses on recent hurricanes and the latest climate change research to engage students and help them understand the central issues of climate change and hurricane activity.
Climate Proxies (from the Microbial Life Educational Resources collection) - This website provides information about what climate proxies are and how they are used to infer past climate.
Communicating Global Climate Change: Using Debate to Engage Integrative Learning ( This site may be offline. ) - This series of video clips from MERLOT/ELIXR demonstrates the use of debate as a strategy for engaging student with the issues surrounding climate change. Project materials, timelines and PowerPoint slides are also included.
InTeGrate: Interdisciplinary Teaching of Geoscience for a Sustainable Future - This is a community effort to improve geoscience literacy and build a workforce that is prepared to tackle societal issues. This 5 year project is a NSF STEP center grant and runs from 2012 through 2016, with many pathways for faculty involvement and collaboration.
Teaching about Energy in Geoscience Courses (from On the Cutting Edge)- Energy plays a big role in current climate science, as well as in policy and economics as it relates to climate change. This website contains course descriptions, an activity collection, visualizations, recommended books and websites, workshop outcomes and more.
Curriculum for the Bioregion - This is a network of educators in Washington State who are integrating sustainability and place-based content in a broad array of undergraduate courses. The site hosts collections of teaching activities, courses, and essays with approaches to curriculum integration and engaging pedagogies for both classroom- and community-based learning.
Climate Change in the Age of Media - CAM engages students in the educational process by involving them in the creation of short films, animations, and video journalism related to climate change, integrating science with media literacy in ways that are readily adopted in a range of instructional environments.
The Climate Change Collection - Unsure of how to navigate the web for reliable scientific information about climate science? This suite of web-based resources has been reviewed by a team of science teachers, climate scientists and learning experts who reviewed hundreds of resources for accuracy and effectiveness. See the related climate literacy catalog for more resources.
Climate-Specific Labs from Earthlabs for Educators and Policymakers - These three modules present a series of climate labs that address weather and climate not simply as atmospheric processes, but in the context of the interconnected Earth system, which includes the planet's oceans, landmasses, biosphere, and cryosphere (Earth's frozen places), as well as the atmosphere. Although the main focus of the modules is literacy, in each of the modules students will also look at climate data.
Climate of Change: Interactions and Feedbacks between Water, Air, and Ice, developed as part of the InTeGrate project, this 6-unit, 2-3 week module explores short-term climate variability resulting from atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions. Each unit can also be used as a stand-alone activity. Students investigate the dynamics and impacts associated with climate variability by examining and analyzing atmosphere, ocean, and ice data; completing a series of readings; and engaging in group discussions. Materials and teaching descriptions for gallery walks, interactive discussions, group work, and lab exercises are provided.
Climate Change Visualizations (from On the Cutting Edge Teaching about Climate Change) - These pages were developed as a part of the Teaching Geoscience with Visualizations workshop and website. Each page presents quality visualizations on a particular topic in the geosciences, this one focuses on climate change visualizations. You can browse through the whole collection of visualization pages on the Teaching with Visualizations website.
Visualizations about Hurricanes and Climate Change (from On the Cutting Edge The Hurricane-Climate Change Connection) - These pages were developed as a part of the Teaching Geoscience with Visualizations workshop and website. The quality visualizations provided on this site involve climate change and hurricanes.
Paleoclimate: Climate Change Through Time (from On the Cutting Edge Teaching about Climate Change) - These pages provide access to a spectrum of visualizations and supporting material that can be used effectively to teach students about paleoclimate through geologic time. Visualizations include simple animations, GIS-based animated maps, paleogeographic maps, as well as numerous illustrations and photos.
Energy Visualizations (from On the Cutting Edge Teaching about Energy) - These visualizations include videos, illustrations, maps, etc. that can support teaching about energy in the classroom. They involve fossil fuel formation and how fuels are converted to energy, resources about nuclear energy, and alternative energy.
Working with Data
Recommended Web Sites for Teaching Climate Change (from On the Cutting Edge Teaching about Climate Change) - This page contains quick links to handy sites for climate change information. Includes research summaries, data sets, imagery and carbon footprint calculators.
Atmospheric science and climatology data sets (from Using Data in the Classroom) - These sites provide on-line or downloadable tools for visualizing or manipulating data or datasets that can be used in the classroom.
CLEAN Workshops and Webinars - Part of their professional development series, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness (CLEAN) project has held multiple online workshops aimed at undergraduate faculty and a webinar series aimed at middle and high school teachers. The workshops and webinars provided in-depth information on a variety of topics involving climate, energy, and sustainability and were designed to help faculty incorporated these issues into the classroom. The workshops produced materials that contribute to and expand upon resources in the CLEAN reviewed collection and webinar recordings are available.
On the Cutting Edge Climate Change Workshops and Webinars - On the Cutting Edge has hosted a variety of workshops and webinars as part of their professional development series, some of which were co-sponsored by the American Quaternary Association (AMQUA) and the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Quaternary Research. Workshop products include peer-reviewed activities and course descriptions, lists of useful climate modeling software and climate references contributed by the community, and activity ideas that provide a building block for instructors to modify for their classroom.
On the Cutting Edge Climate and Energy Webinar and Book Club Series - This monthly series delved into emerging topics in the science of energy and climate and explored promising teaching approaches for these topics. Recordings of webinar presentations are available from the event pages.
On the Cutting Edge Energy Workshops and Events - These workshops brought together geoscience educators to share their understanding about energy in the context of teaching and learning geoscience. The workshops also showcase approaches for teaching about energy and provided a forum to develop new educational materials.