Climate Change: Understanding the Impact


Climate Change: Understanding the Impact is a collection of resources that shows real-world implications of climate change. The collection is designed to help integrate climate change into existing Life and Earth Science curricula. It highlights discrete impacts of climate change on issues ranging from public health to income inequality. Use the resources to help your students gain a stronger understanding of how climate change seamlessly melds with science concepts from life and earth sciences.

This collection is designed to show the connections between climate change and other topics like changing agricultural needs. For resources that directly explain the science behind climate change see the Clue into Climate and Climate Literacy collections.

  • Achoo! Carbon Dioxide Emissions Increase Pollen Production

    Use the graphs in this media gallery from Climate Central to see how carbon dioxide emissions from human activity is affecting pollen production. The graphs depict results from two scientific studies in an easy to analyze format. Students consider the broader implications of increased pollen levels, including public health risks from allergies.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Agriculture and Climate Change

    Use this media gallery from Climate Central to explore how agriculture’s contribution to climate change is increasing. In the accompanying teaching tips, students can use the graphs as a starting point to research ways to mitigate agricultural climate pollution. Another tip for students is to take on a sustainable eating practice, and analyze the impact of their actions by creating food webs.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Are Trees Renewable Resources?

    Use this media gallery from Climate Central to explore how wood is incentivized as a renewable resource, even though it emits more greenhouse gas than coal. In the accompanying classroom activity, students conduct an inquiry-based investigation of fuel carbon dioxide emissions. The accompanying teaching tips suggest ways for students to investigate how attempts to preserve natural forests may increase wildfire risk.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Buzz: Climate Change Prolongs Mosquito Season

    Use this interactive from Climate Central to see how climate change is affecting mosquito season in cities across the United States. In the accompanying classroom activity, students analyze data from ten or more cities and create a graph comparing changes in mosquito season. Students consider the broader implications of prolonged mosquito season including public health risks from Zika and West Nile viruses.

    Grades: 5-10
  • Climate Change Increases Poor Air Quality

    Use this interactive from Climate Central to see how climate change is affecting hazardous summer air conditions in cities across the United States. In the accompanying classroom activity, students analyze data from ten or more cities and create a graph comparing the increase in stagnant days. Students consider the broader implications of the increase in stagnant days, including a greater public health risk for respiratory ailments.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Climate Change is Changing When Plants Grow

    Use this media gallery from Climate Central to explore how climate change is shifting growing seasons across the country. In the accompanying classroom activity, students can use the video and interactive as a starting point to explore how ecological relationships shift when one member of the ecosystem is affected by climate change. Students analyze data from various states and create a graph exploring changes in growing seasons in the accompanying teaching tips.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Climate Change is Increasing the Urban Temperature Divide

    Use this interactive from Climate Central to see how climate change is increasing the temperature gap between urban areas and their surrounding rural areas in cities across the United States. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the engineering design process to reduce urban heat. Students consider the broader implications of urban heat, including a higher public health risk of heat stroke, and the financial and electrical burden of increased air conditioner use.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Climate Change’s Greater Impact on Lower Income Populations

    Use this article from Climate Central to explore how climate change has a greater impact on lower income and ethnically diverse populations – the climate gap. Students can use this informational text as a starting point to compare and contrast how different communities are disproportionally impacted by climate change and examine different approaches to mitigating the impact of climate change.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Maximizing Renewable Resources: Where and When to Use Solar Power

    Use this interactive from Climate Central to learn about using renewable resources effectively to reduce the contribution of fossil fuels to climate change. Students explore how the availability of sunlight to provide solar power varies between regions. In the accompanying classroom activity, students rigorously analyze data and compare trends. Students consider the broader implications of solar power, including financial constraints and alternative renewable resources.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Transportation’s Contribution to Climate Change

    Use these infographics in this media gallery from Climate Central to see how transportation contributes to climate change and how climate change affects transportation. Students compare the carbon footprint of various forms of transportation and determine their own carbon footprint. They explore how climate change is increasing flight delays.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Wolong's Pandas

    In this video segment from Nature, learn about the endangered pandas of the Wolong Conservation Center in China. When the bamboo plant, the panda's main source of food, began to die off in the 1980s, the center responded by rescuing starving pandas from the wild. This resource includes an activity where students learn to compare and contrast information from multiple sources and a fun game that explores how changes in an animal’s food source can impact survival. Discussion questions challenge students to think about how climate change affects animal and plant life. To learn about China's panda population, see the "Bamboo Mountain" video segment of this two-part series.

    Grades: 3-8

Contributor: