What Was Earth’s Temperature Like in the Past?

Students examine what the world’s temperature trend was in the past and whether temperatures have changed recently.

Context for Use

This is the fifth lesson in the Climate Resiliency Education Middle School Climate Unit.

A graph showing global temperature rising over time.

Goals Header
What Students Will Do

Students will better understand data trends.

Teaching Materials


  1. (5 minutes) Do Now: Activate knowledge from the previous lesson.
  2. (5 minutes) Sharing Initial Ideas Discussion: Generate ideas for this lesson.
  3. (10 minutes) Video: Watch the Trends and Variations video and summarize or draw.
  4. (10 minutes) Data analysis: Analyze the graph and visualization of global temperatures. 
  5. (20 minutes) Discussion: Discuss what they learned about global temperatures.
  6. (10 minutes) Text: Read Where is the data coming from? and summarize or draw.
  7. (10 minutes) Text: Read From the Industrial Revolution to Automobiles and discuss Notices and Wonderings. 
  8. (5 minutes)  Brainstorm: Generate ideas for next steps in the investigation.
Illustration of two people high-fiving in a work environment

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