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Climate and Resiliency Education

Climate and Resiliency Education

Building the Capacity of Climate and Resiliency Education through Three-Dimensional Learning and Co-Design Unit Planning

What are the causes and effects of a changing climate and how do they impact human lives and the environment?

To explore this question, a team from CIRES Education Outreach partnered with faculty from the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and a cohort of science educators through the Climate Education and Dialogue for Denver Public Schools (DPS) project. The overarching project goal is to build teacher capacity in learning and teaching about climate and resiliency education using the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the co-design unit planning process, and the three-dimensional learning approach.

From late 2016 to early 2017, the project team met for four face-to-face workshops that included expert science support from CIRES graduate students. The educator cohort had opportunities to learn about climate and energy topics and educational resources, select and unpack climate-focused NGSS Performance Expectations, identify a school-based and student-driven design challenge, and initiate the co-design unit planning process of three secondary science climate and resiliency units. Project resources and support were offered online and virtually to assist DPS educators in completing their individual lessons and piloting the collective units in spring and fall 2017. By spring 2018, the units had undergone both pedagogical and scientific reviews and revisions.

The instructional units developed through this project are available for use by educators and educational organizations, and may be adapted (crediting the original developers and the unit webpage), thus extending the broader impacts of the project.

The Climate and Resiliency units include:

Middle School Unit

Lesson 1: What is up with the rising temperatures in Colorado cities?

Lesson 2: What makes cities hotter?

Lesson 3: Why are growing cities hotter?

Lesson 4: Are other parts of the world getting hotter?

Lesson 5: What was Earth’s temperature like in the past?

Lesson 6: How does human activity affect the trend of warming temperatures on Earth?

Lesson 7: How do cars impact CO2 in the atmosphere?

Lesson 8: How can we show that an increase in CO2 causes an increase in temperature?


High School Unit

Lesson 1: Why are these cities getting hotter?

Lesson 2: What is special about these cities compared to rural places and states overall?

Lesson 3: Why are cities and other regions of the world getting hotter?

Lesson 4: How is human activity contributing to the increase in global temperatures?

Lesson 5: Is it normal that world temperatures are rising this fast?

Lesson 6: What impact do increasing greenhouse gases have on living things and the world?


Design Challenge Unit (Middle and High School)

Lesson 1: How can we decrease our impact on the Earth’s climate at our school?

Lesson 2: What can we find out about greenhouse gas emissions resulting from waste in our school food system?

Lesson 3: How can we understand waste and emissions in our school food system?

Lesson 4: What are the best approaches to reduce emissions associated with food waste in our school?

Lesson 5: How can we best present our plan and recommendations to the people who need to know?




Jennifer Taylor Email

Outreach Award