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Earth’s Changing Climate (HS) (ESS3)

Created by NASA Wavelength Last updated 8/1/2018

The resources in this list support student understanding of global climate changes by examining systemic changes- particularly in the atmosphere and in sea ice. Students analyze related data, images and videos and also calculate the rate of change in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage.

This list supports the following national standards:
Next Generation Science Standards

The NGSS DCI ESS3 (Earth and Human Activity) includes both component ideas ESS3.C (Human Impacts on Earth Systems) and ESS3.D (Global Climate Change).
  • Earth’s Dynamically Changing Climate

    This PBS/NASA professional development module is one of three in the Global Climate Change series. By modeling the 5E method and providing related supplemental materials, the module examines evidence of climate change throughout Earth’s systems. Tips on analyzing data, graphs and scientific visualizations are provided, along with strategies to engage students in those investigative techniques. Each module can be done independently; each is self-paced, requiring approximately 3-5 hours to complete. This resource also appears in the NSTA curated collection of NGSS-aligned resources.
  • World of Change

    The World of Change series documents both natural and human caused changes in our planet’s land, ocean, and atmosphere through satellite images taken at different times throughout recent decades. Clicking on any image in the 31 sets will open to an explanatory article and a time-lapse series of image changes. Analyzing the text and images will allow students to discover how Earth’s systems interact- and how those systems are changing in response to human activities. World of Change is a product of NASA’s Earth Observatory.
  • Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

    NASA’s Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet website provides the latest data, visualizations, news and information about Earth’s changing climate. The five monitored vital signs are carbon dioxide, global temperature, Arctic Sea ice minimum, land ice and sea level. The page for each respective vital sign contains latest measurements, downloadable data, an explanation of its role as a vital sign, graphs, time-series images, and a list of NASA missions that observe that vital sign. The evidence of change provided through satellite data allows students to construct an explanation for the rate at which those changes are occurring.
  • How to Calculate Sea Ice Changes

    Join a NASA climate scientist to analyze Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage using satellite data. Throughout this set of three videos, students use math and computational thinking to calculate the changes in sea ice coverage to support trends in the data. Each video is approximately 20 minutes in length; an additional 20-30 minutes per video may be required for student participation. Supplemental resources include Arctic and Antarctic data files for 1978-2016 and suggestions for classroom use.
  • Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms Collection: PBS LearningMedia

    New instructional modules contain digital media that address the content and practices in the K-12 Framework for Science Education and feature innovative media formats- including satellite images, data visualizations, and videos drawn from WGBH’s signature programs like NOVA and PEEP