Website review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2016

Climate Kids

Kid-friendly, expert site explores key climate issues

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 2 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
3–6 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: This fun, fact-filled website invites students to explore and play while maintaining great depth in its content.

Cons: Text-heavy information is often organized several layers deep; finding specific answers to climate questions can be challenging.

Bottom Line: A great launching point for engaging in accurate and timely climate change information.

Teachers can use Climate Kids as a toolbox for learning about global climate change. Exploring the Big Questions section could help build essential background information before teachers dig deeper. Teachers can have students try games such as Offset to make learning about the carbon cycle more engaging. These games could be flipped for playing at home, with follow-up discussions taking place at school. Videos such as "What Is Happening in the Ocean" can spark whole-class discussions. The Activities page is full of resources and links that teachers may find useful for planning lessons.

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Climate Kids is a comprehensive website from NASA covering a variety of global climate change topics. The website provides many ways to engage in learning, including games, hands-on activities, facts, videos, and career profiles. The site is organized into categories such as Atmosphere, Water, Weather & Climate, Plants & Animals, and Energy. The Big Questions section introduces students to the basics and provides answers to "What is global climate change?" and "What can we do to help?" The information is often text-heavy, and no audio support is offered. A page is dedicated to teaching about climate change and includes links to other websites; some of these links no longer work.

The Climate Change Time Machine is a standout interactive feature of the site that feeds the scientific inquiry process. Users can go backward and forward through time to visually see evidence of how Earth has changed over the years. The Time Machine includes maps of sea ice, sea level, carbon emissions, and average global temperature. 

Climate Kids is an excellent learning tool for students because it provides accurate scientific information using a variety of media (games, videos, and interactives) that touch on the same topics. Offering multiple ways to access this critical information reaches a diverse set of students and provides opportunities for deeper learning. The website is colorful and well designed, but some students may struggle with the text-heavy articles. The site would be even more useful if information were easier to find and it provided audio support, translations, and other accessibility features.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Climate Kids quickly draws students into a safe and developmentally appropriate environment and offers easy ways to find games, videos, facts, and offline activities. Some students may skip over large sections of text.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

The ample collection of games, hands-on activities, and videos answer big climate questions but may become overwhelming without teacher guidance. 

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

The games include helpful tutorials, and some educator materials are provided, but this text-heavy website doesn't offer audio support or other accessibility features.


Common Sense reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

Community Rating

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jennifer V. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Gallego Basic Elementary School
Tucson, United States
Reading Content and Interactives Help Students Explore Specific Questions about Climate Change
This site is visually appealing and does a thorough job of chunking this complex topic into manageable pieces for younger learns. The initial interface shows a wheel with 7 big questions and from there students can drill down to a particular aspect of climate change, from basics such as “What is Climate” to more advanced specifics such as “How Can So Little arming Cause So Much Melting”. The final reading passages have simple supporting images and the text is again chunked into manageable pieces. A ...
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