Lesson plan

Our Precious Mother Earth

In this lesson, students will explore the term "climate change" and how it is affecting different parts of the Earth, through research and writing letters.
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Students will be able to define the words "climate change" and discuss ways to reverse climate change.

(15 minutes)
  • Join students together in a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Explain to students that today they will explore images, statistics, and facts about our home, Earth, in a vast universe that is 13.8 billion years old.
  • Show images from NASA's Climate Time Machine.
  • Ask students to write down three things they notice and three things they wonder connected to the images.
  • Ask students to share their notices and wonders.
  • Project the Live Science slideshow.
  • Move through 10 slides about Earth and the universe.
  • Ask, "What are some things that stand out for you in the slides?"
  • Explain that Earth has been around for a long time, but is also fragile.
  • Explain how scientists report that climate change is affecting the Earth's water and creatures, and creating more extreme weather and storms.
(15 minutes)
  • Write the words "climate change" on the board.
  • Explain that today the class will be researching climate change on computers, in groups.
  • Tell them that each group will be assigned to answer one question and put together a short slideshow presentation.
  • Tell them that the presentation will be presented to the class by each group and then also to an authentic audience of their choice (city council, school principal, etc.).
  • Explain that they will also have the option to writer letters to a school in another country that is affected by climate change.
(5 minutes)
  • Project the National Geographic website on climate change.
  • Explain that each group will go to the website and research the answer to their assigned question.
  • Tell them that they will create a short slideshow using the information gathered from the website.
  • Write the following questions on the board ahead of time, to be assigned to groups to research:
    1. What causes climate change?
    2. How is climate change affecting the planet?
    3. How will climate change affect wildlife?
    4. How will people be affected by climate change?
    5. How are people coping with climate change?
    6. How can I help prevent climate change?
  • Share that if the group finishes early they will have the option of writing a letter to a pen pal in another country about climate change.
  • Project the Elevate a Child website to write letters.
  • Ask the class if they have any questions and clarify any instructions.
(20 minutes)
  • Break the class into (multi-ability) groups of 3–4 students.
  • Assign one question on climate change to each group.
  • Dismiss groups to computers.
  • Give students 20 minutes to research their question, create their slide show, and write letters.

Enrichment: Ask advanced students to generate a list of people in the community the class could present their findings on climate change to and proposals on how to help cope with climate change in the community.

Support: Work one-on-one or in small groups with some students during computer work time.

(5 minutes)
  • Walk around the room and check student comprehension of climate change during group work.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring students back together in a circle.
  • Ask each group to present their one question and answer they were assigned.
  • Explain that you will review each group's slideshow presentation at another time.
  • Lead a meaningful discussion using the following guiding questions:
    • What can the class do to reverse climate change?
    • How can we support the school to reverse climate change?
    • What can our community do to reverse climate change?
    • Who would you like our class climate change presentation to be shared with in our school or community?
    • Who would like to share their letter to their pen pal in Africa?

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