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Connecting Climate Change to the Science 10 Curriculum Through Inquiry

Secondary

Description

This resource provides teachers with three inquiries intended to support students through building an understanding of the science of climate change. The learning takes place through inquiries from questions generated by students, which is authentic and meaningful. The ideal goal of an inquiry is to apply learning and take action.

These inquiries highlight instructional strategies that allow for students’ perspectives and voice. The resources, activities, climate change data and information provide the groundwork to engage in action and environmental stewardship opportunities. Each inquiry is designed to stand alone, addressing different angles and lenses through which climate change can be explored. 

1. What is Climate Change and Why Care? - This inquiry focuses on the question: “What worries you about climate change?” Educators begin by asking students to identify actions that they have seen or heard of recently that inspire them about climate change reduction. This generates discussions focused on breaking down the emotional barriers of climate change education. We also suggest framing learning pathways by connecting to actions or local environmental stewardship projects that students identify as personally relevant and important to them.

2. Monitoring Change: Using the Climate Atlas of Canada - This inquiry focuses on the importance of monitoring change using the interactive website the Climate Atlas of Canada. This site will enable students to research past, present and future climate impacts in their communities under different emission pathways. From a psychological and educational standpoint, investigating climate change from a regional scale is preferred because 1) planning for and adapting to climate impacts is often undertaken at a city/municipal/community level, 2) students can engage directly with local experts and 3) this ensures learning is in alignment with the scale of jurisdictional response and in alignment with students’ locus of control. After exploring climate change impact projects, students can develop environmental stewardship projects focusing on mitigating or adapting to climate risks.

3. Environmental Impacts & Restoration - This inquiry delves deeper into the multifaceted environmental effects of climate change. We encourage students to harness their curiosity about the local environment by examining changes to the ecosystem, species at risk, large-scale environmental impacts, etc. or by connecting with a community expert and exploring restorative practices. We have included a multitude of external resources and guiding questions to help support and extend student research.

 In the culminating task, the students apply what they have learned in the inquiry to create an action plan for an environmental stewardship project of their choice. An environmental stewardship project aims to have students connect responsibility and choice and fosters the development of important competencies. 

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

These inquiries highlight instructional strategies that allow for students’ perspectives and voice. The resources, activities, climate change data and information provide the groundwork to ultimately engage in action and environmental stewardship opportunities.

Each inquiry is designed to stand alone, addressing different angles and lenses through which climate change can be explored. We do recommend beginning the learning with Inquiry 1 ‘What is Climate change and Why Care?’. This inquiry provides a good introduction to climate change and allows students to begin by thinking about theimportance of this issue in their own lives and future. Many of the curriculum outcomes of Grade 10 Science can be linked to understanding the phenomenon of climate change. Climate change learning spans across subject matter and is relevant to students.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
        • Science 10 Science for Sustainable Societies
        • Science 10 Science for Sustainable Societies: The Nature of Science
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Science 1206: Weather Dynamics
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Climatology and Meteorology
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
        • Science 10: Weather Dynamics
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Climatology and Meteorology
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
        • Science (Applied)::Earth and Space Science: Earth's Dynamic Climate
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 431A: Earth and Space Science, Weather Systems
        • Science 431A: Life Science, Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Applied Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
        • Science & Technology:The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Ecosystems (3)

    • Biodiversity
    • Endangered Species
    • Invasive Species

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

These inquiries intend to support students through building an understanding of the science of climate change. This learning takes place through inquiries stemming from questions generated by students, is authentic and meaningful. 

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Climate Change affects students socially, emotionally and environmentally. As students investigate how a warming climate affects the natural world, they also examine interrelationships between environmental health and global quality of life. Our understanding of climate change and its impacts requires an understanding of multiple related systems (from the physical environment, to ecosystems, to past, present and future impacts in their communitites) that transcend traditional subject boundaries.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good

This inquiry delves deeper into the multifaceted environmental effects of climate change. We encourage students to harness their curiosity about the local environment by examining changes to the ecosystem, species at risk, large-scale environmental impacts, etc. or by connecting with a community expert and exploring restorative practices. We have included a multitude of external resources and guiding questions to help support and extend student research. 

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

This resource highlights learning opportunities that engage students in choice. Choice and action help make the concept of climate change more relevant and meaningful to the student. In the culminating task, the students apply what they have learned in the inquiry to create an action plan for an environmental stewardship project of their choice. An environmental stewardship project aims to have students connect responsibility and choice and fosters the development of important competencies. The action plan meaningfully engages students throughout the process, from choosing an issue to how students will carry it out.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

Climate change is a complex problem that raises opportunities for students to consider their values, their feelings of responsibility, and their capacity to enact change. Students are asked to consider why they should care about climate change, what responsibility they have to others in contributing to the solution, and the impact of their actions on others.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

One of the video documents the impacts of climate change from an Inuvialuit perspective. The residents of Sachs Harbour have witnessed dramatic changes to their landscape and their way of life.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good

Climate change has an impact on biodiversity and ecosystems and the survival of endangered species. The third inquiry of the resource, Environmental Impacts & Restoration has students explore questions concerning the biggest environmental impact in their area, the species at risk in their area and the cause of those risks.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

Each of the inquiries asks students to examine or investigate their local community in terms of the issue being addressed. This may take the form of neighborhood Walks, educating their community about the risks posed by climate change, conducting a school waste audit, inviting municipal leaders into the classroom, measuring their own carbon footprint, using the Climate Atlas of Canada to explore the current and possible future impact of climate change on their community, planting trees or restoring a local habitat.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

Inquiry 2 - Monitoring Change: Using the Climate Atlas of Canada focuses on the importance of monitoring change using the interactive website the Climate Atlas of Canada. This site will enable students to research past, present and future climate impacts in their communities under different emission pathways.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The inquiry learning model adopted by the resource means that questions, not answers drive the study and that students contribute to determining what questions are asked. The teacher's role is that of facilitator and the role of the resource is to provide students with information and activities that enable students to develop their perspective on the issue and to  recognize the perspective of others.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

The resource provides opportunities to bring together content and skills from more than one subject area. 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Very Good

The resource was developed in accordance with the principles of inquiry learning, which is an approach to learning that is directed by questions, problems, a hypothesis or a challenge that individuals and groups of learners work together to address. The learning is driven by student generated questions. Students, assisted by the teacher, clarify the questions being asked and determine how to answer them. The resource connects educators to:  instructional strategies that allow for students’ perspectives and voice, currently available climate change science and research, teacher resources and activities.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good

The inquiries include several differentiated instruction suggestions so that every kind of learner will find ideas, questions and activities to explore based on their unique and diverse community characteristics and circumstances, inspiring learning that ultimately leads to action.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

The resource includes numerous opportunities for students to take their learning outside the classroom. This includes neighbourhood walks to study the impact of climate change at the local level, meetings with local leaders who are addressing climate change, partnerships with local organizations, mapping and graphing data at the community level and sharing of that data to name a few.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

Each of the inquiries includes a segment entitled Group Knowledge Building. The goal is to further individual knowledge as a result of group discussions, common goals, and synthesis of ideas.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

The Consolidation segment, which is also found in each inquiry would provide teachers with opportunities to assess student understanding, as would the Determining Understanding segment. 

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Very Good

The resource encourages students be environmental stewards in their communities and to educate their community about the risks posed by climate change.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

A number of videos explore specific climate change concerns such as the impact of climate change in the arctic. Student work with the Climate Atlas of Canada is directed at having them understand the past, present and future consequences of climate change in their community. 

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Very Good

The Question Generation segment of each inquiry helps teachers determine where students are in their initial understanding of a topic or an issue, then continues to evaluate their understanding throughout the learning process. The Determining Understanding segment enables students to pause and reflect on their learning, taking ownership of the process and practicing metacognitive strategies. By generating their own questions students participate in their program content.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.