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Climate Quest

factory haze

Unit Summary

Students from class seven take on the role of scientists and study the climate of their location and compare it to the climate that was prevailing there 50 years ago. They then evaluate the change in climate as well as the pros and cons of climate change and formulate strategies to arrest and reverse climate change. The students present their findings and strategies to the student community via brochures, presentations and role plays and encourage fellow students and the school community to adopt practices in their daily life that combat climate change.

Curriculum Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    How are we responsible for change?
  • Unit Question
    Is change of climate inevitable?
  • Content Questions
    What is climate?
    What is the difference between climate and weather? List the major changes in the climate of the earth over the last 5 decades.
    List the major consequences of climate change.
    List 5 strategies to combat and reverse climate change.
    Share 2 strategies you will personally adopt to help combat climate.

Assessment Processes
A variety of student-centred assessments are used in the Climate Quest Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers set goals; monitor student progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances, and products; and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.

Instructional Procedures
Prior to instruction

  • Share the project details with the Principal and parents and take permission from school authorities for field visit.
  • Submit a project concept paper to the meteorological department and local residents association with time lines, requesting their support. If possible, personally visit them to explain the objectives of this project.
  • Prepare list of reference web sites to facilitate students.
  • Prepare the brochure, presentation & role play rubrics.
  • Prepare a presentation on Climate.
  • Organize logistics with respect to field visit to meteorological department and local residents association.
  • Arrange schedule with Computer Lab teacher for smooth implementation of the project.

Procedure:
Set the stage (1st period)
Introduce the topic “Climate” via a short quiz (doc). At the end of the quiz give the correct answers (doc) and reasoning pertaining to them as required. Ask the students to think about what could be the common thread between all the questions asked. Post their responses, explain to them that one strong common thread in this quiz was that all the factors discussed were related to the Climate system of the Earth. Next, introduce the K-W-L (doc) chart and ask students to put down what they “know” and what they “wonder” with respect to climate and share this in small groups. Ask them to leave the last “learn” column blank for the time being and preserve these K-W-L charts. Ask the students to bring a foolscap notebook/file etc for the next class which they will use as a journal.

Teacher Presentation & Introducing the Scenario (2nd & 3rd period)
Randomly divide the class into 2 groups and provide the following information to the class regarding working in groups:
Group Leader: Each group is to elect a group leader who in consultation with the group will designate responsibilities to all members of the group and decide on final schedule of work and submissions as well on a group reporter.
Group Reporter: The group reporter will minute all meetings, responsibilities delegated and status on these and report back to the group.
Introduce the topic “Climate” and start by showing the Teacher Presentation (ppt) on this topic. Following the teacher presentation, present the following scenario:
Instruct students to take on the role of scientists studying the climate of Bangalore whereby they will study the climate of this location and compare it to the climate that was prevailing here 50 years ago. Based on the information gathered they are to evaluate what have been the changes in the climate over the last 50 years as well as the pros and cons of this climate change. If they reach the conclusion that the climate change, if any, has been harmful then they are to formulate strategies to arrest and reverse this climate change. They will then present their key findings as well as strategies to reduce as well reverse climate change to the student community via brochures, presentations and role plays and thus encourage them to adopt practices in their daily life that combat and reverse climate change.

Make students discuss in their groups about the project and write down the questions they have about the project in their journals. Have presenter from each group give their understanding about the project, ask questions and voice out their role and responsibilities once they become scientists studying climate change. Give opportunity to other groups to try and answer the questions posed by each group. Ask students: “Is change of climate inevitable?” and have students note down the responses in their journals. Instruct students to maintain a project journal (doc) as they work on the different aspects of the project and share with them a journal rubric (doc) which will guide them to maintain a project journal as per the expectations of the teacher. Share the fact that the journal rubric will help them assess their product and that at the end of the unit, the teacher will assess the journal with the same rubric.

Visit to the Meteorological Department and local Residents Association office
Teacher to plan the visits to the Meteorological Department and the local Residents Association to gain first hand information about climate change. Students will be divided into two groups and while one group would visit the local Residents Association and conduct an interview with senior local residents the other group would visit the Meteorological Department. This group would interview some designated persons on current climate conditions as well as collect data on the climate conditions prevailing in this area 50 years ago.

Prepare for the field visit (4th period)

Inform students that they will go to on the above mentioned data collecting visits on the scheduled day. Also inform the students that the visits had been planned with the objective of collecting information on climate change and that, as important as the formal interview process, is the informal chatting and discussions and hence, they should make note of all facts mentioned during such discussions and that interesting leads should be followed through and information gained. Lastly, tell the students to maintain respect and courtesy for the individuals being interviewed and that they should remember to thank them at the end of the meetings.

Interview and Data Collection
Provide time for students to discuss, frame questions and discussion points for the scheduled interviews (doc) that the two groups would conduct. Assist each group to finalize their questions, discussion points and provide inputs. Provide an interview checklist (doc) to help them self assess and improve their interviewing techniques. Discuss with students how each group would collate the data collected and represent their findings. Share interview rubric (doc) with the class which will help them assess their interviews and at the end of the unit, the teacher will assess the interviews with the same rubric.

The Field Visit (5th & 6th periods combined)
Accompany students to the Meteorological Department and to the Residents Association where 6-8 senior citizens who had been residents of this city all their lives would be available to be interviewed. Provide time for students to complete their interviewing as per the questionnaires prepared, so as to gain first hand information about the climate conditions prevailing 50 years ago and today, and the pros and cons of this climate change. Also, note down feedback on this entire experience in the project journal.

Analysis (7th period)
After the student groups complete the interview exercise, hold team meetings with the groups. Discuss their interview experience and have them note down their learning in their interview checklist. Ask students to compile their interview notes and discuss it within their groups.Tell them to analyze and compile the field trip data and present it in the form of key findings (doc). Instruct that groups they have to share their experiences and findings with other groups.

Research (8th & 9th period)
Provide time to collate the information gained via interviews and search for information on the Internet and in books related to the following content questions:
• List the major changes in the climate of the earth over the last 5 decades.
• List the major consequences of climate change
• List 5 strategies to combat and reverse climate change
• Share 2 strategies you will personally adopt to help combat climate change
Provide a list of related Web sites (doc) for students to look for the information and encourage them to refer more related web sites to get deeper understanding.

Make students sit in groups. Encourage students to discuss about their research with their group members as well as think about strategies that can combat and reverse climate change. Ask students to note down their questions, doubts, clarifications in their respective journals and spend time with each group to clarify their doubts and answer their questions.

Spread Awareness (10th to 11th periods)
Ask the Unit Question: Is change of climate inevitable?
Make students sit in three groups and think about this question based on their research and findings.
Make students note down their responses and debate about the same in case of difference in responses.
Next ask the Essential Question: How are we responsible for change?
Conduct a similar exercise. After this discussion and consensus on the answer to both these questions, let each group discuss their strategy to spread awareness about climate change and what could be done to combat and reverse climate change. Spend time with each group and learn about the strategies which they would share via brochures, role play and presentation to build awareness about climate change, and ways and means by which we all can contribute towards combating and reversing this change. Let the 3 groups take on responsibility for brochure, role-play or presentation. Provide time for the students to prepare brochure, the presentation and practice their role play (Could also be taken on as post class activity) Share brochure rubric (doc) , presentation rubric (doc) and role play rubric (doc) with the students which will help them assess their product. At the end of the unit, the teacher will assess the product with the same rubric.
Have students distribute brochures (pdf) and give a presentation on climate change (ppt) and strategies to combat and reverse climate change in the school assembly. Allow students to perform a role play in the assembly as well as in various parts of the school during recess to spread awareness about this problem and things we can do individually to deal with it as responsible citizens.

Culminating Activity (12th period)
Conduct the K-W-L exercise once more and have students put down against the Know and Wonder, what they have learnt as well as correct that which they knew incorrectly. Discuss the K-W-L completed chart in small groups and once again pose the essential question How are we responsible for change? for brainstorming. Take a pledge in class to adopt the strategies developed to combat and reverse the climate change and hence become responsible guardians of the planet.

Prerequisite Skills

  • Conceptual Knowledge: Understanding of components that create climatic conditions
  • Technical Knowledge: Knowledge on Internet research, collection of materials and consolidation Should have an awareness of current events

Differentiated Instruction
Resource Student

  • Put them in teams where they are comfortable with respect to discussing and communicating
  • Allow extra time to students to complete assignments.
  • Include checkpoints and positive reinforcement throughout the unit and assigned projects.
  • Rope in the support of parents to guide them through the project
  • Have them collect pictures via digital camera during field trip
  • Provide URLs for research

Gifted Student

  • Have them coordinate the teams during field visit
  • Have them search for extra material that would enrich the project
  • Have the student serve as motivator and an expert on the subject
  • Ask the student to provide more in-depth information or analysis in the project
  • Have them provide suggestion or solution that are feasible and usable to the local community

Credits
This project idea has been developed by Ms. Ritu Singh. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.

Climate Quest

At a Glance

Grade Level: 7
Subject(s): Geography, Social Studies
Topics: Climate Quest
Key Learnings: Research, analysis, strategizing, report writing and presentation
Time Needed: 50 minute class periods, twice a week for 6 weeks