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Updated 8 October, 2007

Lesson Plans



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 Association of American Geographers, Lesson Plans Library, Grades 6-8, Lesson Plans Library, Grades 9-12

Exploring the Environment™ (ETE) online series

  • Global Climate Change. Features an integrated approach to environmental earth science through modules and activities, is developed at the NASA Classroom of the Future™; at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley, Great Explorations in Math & Science (GEMS), Teacher's Guide:

Library of Congress

  • Visions In the Dust: A Child's Perspective of the Dust Bowl This unit helps students gain an understanding of Dust Bowl history through the eyes of a child. Using Karen Hesse's Newbery Award-winning Out of the Dust as an introduction to this aspect of the Great Depression, students have the opportunity to identify with the personal experiences of youth in the 1930s. In addition, students examine primary source materials of the period to correlate the fictional text with actual visual, auditory, and manuscript accounts.  (link updated 12 April, 2001).

National Geographic Lesson Plans

National Geographic Xpeditions:

New York Times On the Web Learning Network

  • Hurricanes: (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Classroom Resources for Science and Social Studies Teachers
    (September 4, 2007)
  • And Now for the Weather (and Climate) Report ... (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Analyzing Data Related to Weather and Climate
    "In this lesson, students make basic weather predictions and investigate a weather cable channel and its response to climate change. They then interpret and compare charts and graphs about weather and climate and reflect on how climate changes impact their own life and the business community."(June 5, 2007)
  • Polar Projects (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Exploring and Analyzing Research Being Conducted During the International Polar Year
    "In this lesson, students will examine categories and research topics relating to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. They will then select one area of study and create related projects to share with the class while assessing the importance of this topic to the scientific community and the world at large. " (February 27, 2007)
  • Playing Hot and Cold (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Exploring How Mammals Adapt to Challenging Climates
    "In this lesson, students will learn about homeothermy. Through research and poster projects, they will gain insight into the diversity among mammals and the adaptations that allow specific mammals to survive in their native climates. " (Tuesday, February 20, 2007)
  • A Coastal Dilemma (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Demonstrating the Effects of a Rise in Water Level on Coastal Communities
    "In this lesson, students consider the effects of global warming and create scale models of regions along the Atlantic coastline to illustrate the results of the rising water level on human communities." (January 16, 2007)
  • Global Warming (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Classroom Resources from The Learning Network
    (Monday, May 1, 2006)
  • Keep Off the Reef! (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Examining the Endangerment of Coral Reefs as a Byproduct of Global Warming
    "In this lesson, students conduct research to prepare proposals for an aquarium exhibit that highlights the significance of coral reefs. Students will focus their study on global warming and its impact on coral reefs around the world." (Tuesday, April 4, 2006)
  • Tour du Jour? (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Projecting the Impact of Increasing Global Temperatures on the Tourist Economy
    "In this lesson, students learn how warmer temperatures have impacted ice drift tourism on the northern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. They then consider the ways a continued warming trend might impact other global tourist destinations in the future. "(Wednesday, March 15, 2006)
  • Feeling Vulnerable (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Examining the Connection Between Global Poverty and Natural Disasters
    "In this lesson, students learn about some of the ways the developing world is vulnerable to the impact and effects of natural disasters. They then investigate some "natural disaster hotspots" around the globe and assess how vulnerable these areas are. "(Tuesday, March 14, 2006)
  • Chilling Predictions (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Exploring the Economic, Political and Environmental Issues That Global Warming Has Created for the Arctic
    "In this lesson, students will research and prepare an almanac on the Arctic. They then examine the laws that attempt to provide jurisdiction over this area and consider how these laws will be affected if geography of the Arctic continues to change due to the effects of global warming." (Tuesday, October 11, 2005)
  • Going the Way the Wind Blows (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Examining How Climate and Geography Affected Prehistoric Humankind
    "In this lesson, students will consider the various ways geography has affected civilization, then research how various species of ancient humans were affected by geography and climate. They then create dioramas illustrating their findings for a class exhibit, and write journal entries from the perspective of their assigned prehistoric people." (Wednesday, October 6, 2004)
  • Getting into Hot Water (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Learning about Greenland's Ecology and the Mechanisms of Global Warming
    "In this lesson, students study Greenland's ecology as a means to understanding the central role of water in global warming. Then they write essays that compare the effects of global warming on different world regions." (Wednesday, June 9, 2004)
  • Chilling Out.  "Considering Alternative Sources of Energy to Prevent Further Global Warming. "  Lesson Plan (dtd 4 Nov 2003) from the New York Times.  "In this lesson, students learn about the urgency of investigating new sources of alternative energy. They then synthesize their knowledge by explaining why current forms of alternative energy are too limited or inefficient to replace fossil fuels.
  • Adding Fuel to the Fire (Grades  to 6-8;9-12)
    Examining Interconnections between Energy Consumption, Fuel Emissions, and Gross Domestic Product in Select Countries
    Students will consider global warming and the greenhouse effect, and then explore how these issues are affecting countries with both growing and high energy usage. Then, students will graph their findings and write papers considering how continued usage can affect the future of the atmosphere and the global economy. (Thursday, October 23, 2003)
  • Hot Spring.   News Snapshot (dtd 18 April 2002) from the New York Times.  "Every Monday through Friday, News Snapshot features a newsworthy and provocative photo from The New York Times, along with the basic set of questions answered by journalists when relaying the news-- who, what, where, when, why and how."  This snapshot features the mid-April heat wave in the Eastern US. (link posted 19 April 2002)
  • Icing on the World.  News Snapshot (dtd 21 March 2002) from the New York Times.  "Every Monday through Friday, News Snapshot features a newsworthy and provocative photo from The New York Times, along with the basic set of questions answered by journalists when relaying the news-- who, what, where, when, why and how."  This snapshot features the disintegration of an ice shelf in the Antarctic. (link posted 19 April 2002)
  • Weathering the Odds (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Learning About Weather Forecasting in the Science Classroom
    "In this lesson, students learn about the limitations of weather forecasting and how consumer-driven weather forecasting companies attempt to meet the demand for accurate, long-term weather forecasting. They then act as meteorologists, researching the weather patterns of specific regions and developing weather forecasts." (November 13, 2001) 
  • Eye on the Storm (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Exploring How Tracking the History of Natural Disasters Helps Predict the Future
    "In this lesson, students first learn about how geologists collect information about past hurricanes to determine patterns that may help with storm prediction. They then research the history of natural disasters in different regions of the United States and develop regional insurance profiles based on their findings and related predictions." (July 24, 2001)
  • Weather: You Like It or Not (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 )
    Learning About the Importance of and Flaws in Weather Prediction
    "In this lesson, students explore the importance of and flaws in weather prediction, and prepare their own weather report on a specific type of storm." (March 7, 2001)
  • Clearing the Air (Grades 6 to 12)
    Exploring Emissions and Substances that Influence Global Climate Change
    "In this lesson, students investigate a variety of emissions that contribute to global warming. As presenters at a mock international summit, students prepare recommendations for reversing the global warming trend." (October 3, 2000)
  • Walking on Thin Ice? (Grades 6 to 12)
    Exploring the Interpretation of Scientific Evidence
    "In this lesson, students examine scientific evidence of changes in the Arctic ice cover. Students participate in a simulation of an international conference and debate the relationship between global warming and changes in the arctic ice cover." (August 29, 2000)
  • Storming the Web (Grades 6 to 12)
    Exploring How the Internet Has Changed the Way We Learn About Weather
    "In this lesson, students explore the importance of weather prediction and the Internet's role in changing the way weather is reported. By participating in an Internet scavenger hunt, students will come to a greater appreciation of the role weather prediction through the Internet plays in their own lives as well as the lives of people all over the world." (June 1, 2000)
  • Dust in the Wind (Grades 6 to 12)
    Exploring the Causes and Effects of Droughts
    "In this lesson, students investigate the causes and effects of droughts by participating in a simulation "town hall meeting". Acting as community members, students must make informed decisions to help a town and its surrounding areas that are suffering the effects of a prolonged drought." (April 25, 2000)
  • Climate Control (Grades 6 to 12)
    Studying the Earth's Biomes and Exploring the Relationship Between Daily Life and the Environment
    "In this lesson, students work in groups to explore the locations, characteristics, and natural and human dangers to the Earth's biomes to better understand the relationship between daily life and the environment." (January 5, 2000)
  • After the Deluge (Grades 6 to 12)
    Investigating Flood Prevention Technology in the Social Studies Classroom
    "In this lesson, students examine why floods occur and the techniques that can be used to stall or prevent them from happening. Students investigate, in small groups, different flood prevention techniques (levees, dams, reservoirs, and floodways) and create models based on their research that demonstrate how their techniques work." (December 22, 1999)
  • Environmental Rhyme and Reason (Grades 6 to 12)
    Analyzing "The State of the Planet" Through Research and Poetry
    "Students employ poetry as a medium to relay information and express views about significant environmental issues that exist today and to assess their effects on "The State of the Planet" as we enter the next millennium." (November 23, 1999)
  • Ice Breakers (Grades 6 to 12)
    A Lab Experience About the Effects of Global Warming on Icecaps
    "Through participating in a number of in-class experiments using ice, students understand the effects of global warming on icecaps and the worldwide consequences that may result." (October 26, 1999)
  • Counting on the Havoc of Hurricanes (Grades 6 to 12)
    Comparing Statistics of Hurricane Floyd to Other Recent Hurricanes: A Math Lesson
    "In this lesson, students define and classify all the different ways in which numbers are used in forecasting and coping with the effects of a hurricane. They then conduct research to compare and contrast these numbers as they apply to Hurricane Floyd and other recent hurricanes. Finally, they graph their findings." (September 16, 1999)
  • The Heat Is On! (Grades 6 to 12)
    Creating Weather Emergency Guides in the Science Classroom
    "In this lesson, students research various types of severe weather conditions common to their geographic location and create weather emergency guides. Students work in groups to develop guides for extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, tornadoes, floods, and storms, focusing on understanding the formation of these types of weather conditions, forecast and surveillance methods, preparation, and safety procedures in the event of an emergency." (July 13, 1999)
  • Here Comes the Sun! (Grades 6 to 12)
    Promoting Sun Damage Prevention in the Classroom
    "In this lesson, students explore the damaging effects of exposure to the sun, warning signs of skin cancer, and sun damage prevention. Students work in small groups focusing on these different topics, and then create interesting, attractive and informative documents based on their group's research to be included in the class's Safe Fun in the Sun Guide, which will be distributed throughout the school community." (June 15, 1999)
  • Weathering the Weather (Grades 6 to 12)
    Exploring the Effects of Global Warming on Your Community
    "In this lesson, students investigate global warming through initial discussion of recent findings regarding weather patterns. Students act as city planning "committees" concerned with how the trends in global warming will affect the agriculture, industries and other aspects of their city. Each committee develops a series of strategies to better prepare for global warming trends in their city, as well as proposes ideas for ways in which people in the city can combat the causes of global warming." (May 18, 1999)
  • Tending to the Greenhouse (Grades 6 to 12)
    Examining Causes, Effects, and Solutions for Global Warming
    "In this lesson, students investigate global warming through initial discussion of recent findings of an 11-day lengthening of the growing season caused by warmer temperatures. Students then work in small groups, acting as "organizations" concerned with the trends in global warming, to research and propose solutions for restricting greenhouse gases." (March 2, 1999)
  •  "Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink" (Grades 6 to 12)
    Water as a Limited Resource and the Technologies Created to Attempt to Best Use It
    "In this lesson, students investigate the importance of water historically and in their daily lives and examine the nature of water as a limited resource. Students work in groups to research technological systems that have aimed to use water in the most productive ways, evaluate those systems, and create "How It Works" posters of those systems that incorporate their research." (December 8, 1998)

School Resource Kit.  A collection of interesting facts and stories about greenhouse for school children, ages 7 - 12, produced by CSIRO Education and Australian Greenhouse Office for Scientific magazine.

ScienceNetLinks. Lesson on Abrupt Climate Change (Grades 9-12)

Union of Concerned Scientists

US Geological Survey


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