The Climate Science, Risk & Solutions website by MIT can be used by teachers to supplement in-class materials for students learning about climate change. The site is laid out like a textbook, and students can move freely around the chapters. However, teachers may want to start students with the glossary and have them move through the book as written. This is a pretty hefty site, though, so it might be helpful to assign it as independent research or break it up into different sections assigned to groups. The materials could be used as the basis for independent research projects or class discussions on issues around climate change.
If the text-heavy, relatively elevated approach to the material is too hard to digest, try using the sections of text paired with audio, so kids can listen and follow along. And if you can't cover the whole site, use those sections with the interactive elements and quizzes to take advantage of the most interactive pieces.Continue reading Show less
Designed to be an interactive, online textbook on climate change, Climate Science, Risk & Solutions is a slick site MIT carefully constructed. The navigation menus are clear and easy to follow, and the content is extensive. Students navigate through chapters that address different elements of climate change. Each chapter has different elements to engage students: Read-aloud sections, interactive graphs, and short quizzes help break up the dense text.
Students can scroll through or jump from topic to topic, which are divided into sections: Climate Science, Climate Change, Risk, and Solutions. There's also a glossary embedded into the text, and hovering over highlighted vocabulary reveals the definition. Using the links Go Deeper and Q&A, students can access a Test Your Knowledge section, a portal to more MIT climate science resources, and a sort of climate science FAQ with images and videos throughout. Users can download the text in PDF form as well.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more complete resource on this subject than Climate Science, Risk & Solutions. With its historical timeline, graphs, and images, it tackles the science and features some slick interactivity that will appeal to teens. Its thoughtful design extends to the embedded glossary, Q&A section, and quiz in the Go Deeper section of the site. And the audio elements, though limited, add some personality to what can be cold, factual data.
While MIT has done a great job making this content engaging, at the end of the day it's still a text book (though beautifully done), and it does require students to read a lot of relatively dense text. It's an excellent resource for research projects and as a supplement to in-class learning. However, it's a lot of information, which might overwhelm some students. More audio elements, languages, or even leveled reading (a big request but potentially very useful) would open its accessibility and age appropriateness. As it stands, however, it's a wealth of knowledge for teens that teachers will certainly value, even if they have to adapt it for their students.
Key Standards Supported
Earth and Human Activity
Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.
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