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Teachers can use NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet as a central part of their curriculum for ecology and earth sciences. Use it as a jumping-off point for research projects, assign sections of it for homework reading, do art projects with the beautiful imagery, or encourage students to use the interactive tools in class and in presentations. Students can also work through the Facts section and use the scientific evidence there to debate claims by climate-change deniers and supporters for some critical-thinking and discussion practice.
There are so many possible ways for creative educators to use this resource, but if you're ready to teach about climate change and don't know where to start, check out the "For Educators" section of the site, which has tons of great ready-to-go resources, including lesson plans, curriculum modules, professional development, and online communities.Continue reading Show less
NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet is a comprehensive collection of climate change information, including answers, images, videos, blog posts, articles, infographics, and so much more. The site's content is all meticulously researched (with citations and links to original sources), all written by experts who work for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and all in the public domain (so free to use, share, and remix). The site also features plenty of interactive content, which lets users explore climate change over time, across the world's geography or from multiple perspectives.
Beginning learners can get the basic facts about climate change; more advanced learners can access original research and raw data files to explore information firsthand; and everyone can appreciate the science content written in very pragmatic terms.
The content on this reference site is extremely thorough and comes from the premier experts on climate change, so it's probably the most valid and reliable science on this subject that's also accessible for kids as young as 12. The basic facts are nicely broken down into evidence, causes, effects, and solutions, echoing the manner in which science research is typically conducted and reported.
All of the site's media is clear and well-produced, with short documentary movies, engaging blog posts, and FAQ sections to give kids options for how to engage with the content. The interactive tools add some discovery learning flavor (though there could be more), while images and raw data serve as primary sources for research projects. All in all, NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet is like a fantastic textbook in the click-friendly format of a website, written for people who hate textbooks. It's great for learning.
Key Standards Supported
Earth and Human Activity
Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
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 competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
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.
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.
Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
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