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“Weather makers” is a comprehensive teaching unit on climate change. Its 15 lessons are organized into 3 sections.
Tuning in: With the help of engaging video shorts and stunning images students work in pairs and small groups to identify their existing understanding of climate change and other current environmental issues.
Finding Out: Students gather and synthesize information about climate science, climate change causes and consequences and future climate trends from a variety of sources and formats including video shorts, assigned readings and internet research. A number of simulations, experiments and hands-on activities are provided to help students explore and understand complex principles and issues. Topics explored in depth include extreme weather, the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, sea level rise, ocean acidification, the carbon cycle, carbon sinks, energy sources and our climate future.
Taking Action: Students are given opportunities to apply their learning in real situations in their school, home or community.
While designed to be implemented in its entirety, teachers may choose to select individual or groups of lessons from the compilation. All the materials and tools required are provided and teachers will be impressed with the organization, teaching tips and background information that accompany each of the lessons.
In its entirety the resource will provide students with an understanding of climate change science, the role humans are playing and the climate-related challenges we now face. Individual lessons do an excellent job in helping students explain complex phenomena relating to climate.
Teachers and students will appreciate the organization, clarity and quality of materials and tools that comprise each lesson.
The resource is current and relevant to students in all jurisdictions.
Whether implemented in whole or lesson by lesson, the compilation has much to offer teachers and students studying climate change in Science and Geography courses in grades 7 to 10.
Individual lessons will also be of interest to teachers of Language Arts, Media Literacy, and middle school level chemistry/physical science.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
While the resource focus is on climate science, 3 lessons (Sink or Swim, Can You Trust the Internet and Water Worries) explicitly require students to consider different points of view in the process of forming their own position.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The resource takes a systems-thinking approach throughout. The lessons Sink or Swim and Water Worries specifically examine the interplay of the 3 dimensions of sustainable development.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
A strength of the resource is an emphasis on helping students appreciate and understand the complexity of climate change phenomena. This is especially evident in lessons dealing with the greenhouse effect, ocean acidification and the carbon cycle.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
An action component is included as one of the core lessons of the resource. However, most of the emphasis and support is given to action planning as opposed to implementation.
|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
All student lessons conclude with a reflection exercise. Many of the lessons require students communicate what they have learned in writing or through a variety of media formats.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
While a number of opportunities exist within the activities to build empathy for some of the world's poorest people due to climate change impacts, they have not been acted upon.
|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||Good|
Several activities (Tuning In, Oceans and Sinks, Ocean Acidification, Water Worries) connect students to the natural world through learning activities that foster both appreciation and concern
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The frequent and effective use of current events, real data, hands-on inquiry and the students' own media presentations all contribute to more meaningful learning about climate change.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Very Good|
The compilation does an excellent job in meeting all three elements of this criterion. As part of the culminating activity, students apply their knowledge and understanding of climate change to articulate their own visions of the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The emphasis is on teaching students how to evaluate the validity of information as opposed to just accepting what they read or hear as evidence.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The resource has obvious applications in science and geography. There are individual lessons that address outcomes in Math, Media Studies, Visual and Language Arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Present within the 15 lessons is a variety of activity types that will meet the needs of students with different learning styles. Specific suggestions and activities for those with learning difficulties are absent.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Several of the lessons involve students in simulations, scientific inquiry and media projects representing their own views.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
Reflection and/or Assessment suggestions accompany the teaching notes and student directions in each lesson. Student lessons include checklists, question exercises and/or summary sheets in pdf format that can be submitted to the teacher electronically or in hard copy. Many lessons require students to produce paper or media artifacts. Rubrics are not included.
|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.|
With the exception of the action component (Creating a Shared Vision) in which students are empowered to share their visions for the future with the broader community, much of the student-led instruction is incidental.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Many of the lessons feature activities built on real situations (Is the Ozone Layer a Good News Story), events (Extreme Weather), and data (Sink or Swim). The instructional video clips used prominently in the resource all feature current events.
|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||Good|
While the lessons appear heavily scripted, students are given a good deal of choice and how they proceed.
|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.|