This activity is part of the Climate Change Challenge unit.
1. Show a video to help students explore the impacts of climate change on human communities.
- Ask students:
- Who in the world do you think might be most affected by climate change? (Students' answers will vary, but may incorporate the impact of current climate conditions on future scenarios.)
- Preview questions for students to consider while watching the U.N. Climate Summit video poem Dear Matafele Peinem (3:50):
- Where do the baby, Matafele Peinem, and her family live? (Matafele Peinem lives in the Marshall Islands, within the Pacific Ocean.)
- Why is her family concerned about climate change? (The video depicts other islands that have experienced flooding and storms, as a result of climate change.)
- What is her family committing to do to keep Matafele Peinem safe? (They are committing to fight to slow and reverse the effects of climate change.)
- Project the video. After students have watched, solicit volunteers’ responses to the questions. Use the video and students’ responses to emphasize the impact of climate change on families around the world.
- Ask students in a Think-Pair-Share:
- What kind of strategies might we use to ensure that Matafele’s family stays safe in their home in the coming years?
2. Facilitate discussion of climate change mitigation using examples from videos.
- Distribute copies of the Mitigation and Adaptation Meaning Maker and the Mitigation and Adaptation Strategizer handouts.
- In a Think-Pair-Share, ask students to define climate change mitigation in their own words, reading the entry for mitigation in the dictionary or National Geographic glossary if necessary. (Mitigation involves taking steps to reduce a factor contributing to climate change.)
- Split students into small groups and assign each group to watch one of three videos on specific climate change mitigation stories. Complete Part A of their Mitigation and Adaptation Strategizer for their video only as they watch:
- Discuss examples of climate change mitigation from the videos as a class, such that each student is able to complete Part A of the Mitigation and Adaptation Strategizer.
- Assign students to use this information to complete the remaining sections ("characteristics/illustration" and "non-examples") for ‘Mitigation’ in their Mitigation and Adaptation Meaning Maker handout.
3. Facilitate discussion of climate change adaptation using examples from videos.
- Explain that even if mitigation is successful, people still need effective ways to respond to changes in climate that are already starting to occur.
- In a Think-Pair-Share, ask students to define climate change adaptation in their own words, reading the entry for "behavioral adaptation" in the dictionary or National Geographic glossary, if necessary. (Adaptation involves taking steps to reduce the effects of climate change on human or natural systems.)
- Solicit students' definitions and record them in a visible location.
- Split students into small groups and assign each group to watch one of two videos on specific climate adaptation stories. Complete Part B of their Mitigation and Adaptation Strategizer for their video only as they watch:
- Saving Ocean Biodiversity: Coral Restoration (6:35): Re-seeding of bleached reefs with heat-resistant corals, temporary no-dive zones, and scientific research.
- Mitigation and Adaptation: Human Stories of Hope (7:25): Creation of breakwaters and natural resilient habitats in the face of sea level rise; use of local expertise to design solutions.
- When students have finished watching and recording adaptation strategies, reorganize students from each video group into jigsaw groups (made up of some students who watched the first video and some who watched the second). Assign students to share the information from their video with others to complete Part B of the Mitigation and Adaptation Strategizer. Their experience sharing out and recording information from videos in the previous step should provide a model for their interactions here.
- Assign students to use this information to complete the remaining sections ("characteristics/illustration" and "non-examples") for ‘Adaptation’ in their Mitigation and Adaptation Meaning Maker handout.
- Revisit the class Know and Need to Know chart, incorporating any new insights about the human dimension of climate change impacts, or the roles of mitigation and adaptation in our response to climate change.
Informally assess students’ understanding of climate mitigation and adaptation on a personal and group level by examining their Mitigation and Adaptation Strategizer and Mitigation and Adaptation Meaning Maker handouts.
Subjects & Disciplines
- Compare and contrast climate change adaptation with climate change mitigation.
- Gather and organize strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
- Project-based learning
- Multimedia instruction
- 21st Century Student Outcomes
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Science and Engineering Practices
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
Next Generation Science Standards
- Crosscutting Concept 2: Cause and Effect: Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.
- MS-ESS3: Earth and Human Activity: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment
- Science and Engineering Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per pair, Monitor/screen, Projector, Speakers
- Computer lab
- Large-group instruction
- Large-group learning
- Small-group learning
- Small-group work
There are two main ways that humans can address climate change: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation involves decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into Earth’s atmosphere to lessen the pace or intensity of climate change. In contrast, adaptation involves responding to changes that are already occurring. Examples of mitigation strategies include switching to green energy sources and cutting back on emissions with more energy-efficient technologies. Examples of adaptation strategies include building seawalls to combat increased storm surges, often associated with sea level rise, and improving emergency response systems to handle extreme weather events. Ultimately, both mitigation and adaptation will be critical elements of the human response to climate change.
Some of the most effective individual strategies to reduce climate change involve diet, transportation, and energy use. However, there are also important group strategies at the local, state, and national levels that can have widespread impacts with regards to these same habits. For example, governments can fund research into cleaner, more efficient energy technology, or regulate emissions standards for vehicles. Cities and towns can promote food recycling programs, such as composting. Because climate change is an international problem, it will ultimately require global cooperation to address.
Recommended Prior Activities
a modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence. An adaptation is passed from generation to generation.
gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.
person forced to leave his or her home and community because of climate change.
person who has been forced to flee his home and community due to changes in the environment, such as drought.
increase in the average temperature of the Earth's air and oceans.
process of becoming or making something milder and less severe.