Climate Lessons Update – November 2015

Letter to Climate Change Educators

nextgenclimatelogoIntroducing….Next Generation Climate

Our new middle school climate change curriculum! We have been working hard at the development, revision and piloting of this curriculum and anticipating its release for over a year.  We’re so excited to have it ready for all of you, that it’s taking over this month’s entire newsletter!

Has your state, district, or school adopted NGSS? Are you looking for new resources that help you introduce climate change in your classroom? Next Generation Climate uses the Next Generation Science Standards as a framework and is also aligned to the Climate and Energy Literacy principles. We are so excited for you to use Next Generation Climate and let us know what you think! Next Generation Climate and our other curricula are available to download for free on our website. You can also purchase a hard copy for yourself or a set for your district.

Next Generation Climate is a six-lesson, interdisciplinary, middle school climate change curriculum that has students investigate the cause of the global temperature change, research the major repercussions of climate change, and find out how they can monitor and minimize those repercussions. It was developed in response to a need raised by educators we work with, for resources that support the Next Generation Science Standards.  Check out Next Generation Climate today!

Kristen Poppleton & Jenna Totz

Education Program
Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Climate Generation Happenings

What is happening in our new curriculum Next Generation Climate?!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis curriculum uses the Science and Engineering Practice, Asking Questions and Defining Problems. This practice is central to Next Generation Climate because students are frequently engaging with graphs and other data sets. Whether engaged in science or engineering, the ability to ask good questions and clearly define problems is essential for everyone. Questions are the engine that drive science and engineering.

Lesson 2, Activity 1: The Greenhouse Effect Game

greenhouse effect gameStudents will be participating in a game that will help them understand how the greenhouse effect keeps the planet warm, but also is causing our atmosphere to warm too quickly. Students will see a model of the greenhouse effect and will also illustrate a diagram of the greenhouse effect as they play the game.

Graphs and Data

Wildfires Lesson 1Next Generation Climate allows students to dive deep into graphs and data. With graphs and data, students can then investigate the cause of the global temperature change, research the major repercussions of climate change, and find out how they can monitor and minimize those repercussions. There are many graphs in the curriculum, including “Damage caused by Wildfires in the US,” “Ten Indicators of a Warming World,” and “US Methane Emissions.”

Take it Outside

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn most of the lessons, teachers are given the opportunity to bring their students outside to learn. Teaching outside is important for students as it can give them a new perspective on the subject, helps to improve concentration and school performance, and can help students become better stewards of the environment.


This month’s resources include some of our favorite tools for teaching and implementing the Next Generation Science Standards.

Next Generation Science Standards

ngss logoTry the Next Generation Science Standards site for NGSS structure, grade level progression, and descriptions of the three dimensions. This site also gives background research about the NGSS and an explanation about why they are so important.

Connection between NGSS and the National Climate Assessment logoNOAA provides science and information for a climate-smart nation. The connection between the Next Generation Science Standards and the National Climate Assessment (NCA) is discussed in this detailed article. The NCA summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future and there are many connections to the new science standards. That is one reason that Next Generation Climate uses the NCA as a primary resource.

Bozeman Science

bozeman sciencePaul Anderson, a Montana science educator, has created a site with hundreds of science videos for both students and teachers. features videos about the Next Generation Science Standards, along with many other science topics. Each cross cutting concept, disciplinary core idea, and scientific and engineering principle is broken apart and explained in depth.

National Science Teachers Association

nsta logoHop on over to the National Science Teachers Association site for classroom resources, help with curriculum planning, and find opportunities for professional development.

STEM Teaching Tools

stem teaching toolsThis site has tools that can help you teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Stem Teaching Tools is currently focused on supporting the teaching of the Next Generation Science Standards.

What we’re reading

COP-21Now that Next Generation Climate is hot off the presses, we can focus on our next education project, Window Into Paris: COP21!  Read all about it and follow our education ambassador blogs from the International Climate Change Negotiations in Paris, November 30-December 12!

Stories from the Field

David Ketter, a past Summer Institute participant and Washington State educator, has been able to take Next Generation Climate out to teachers to pilot in Washington State. After a workshop last week for the state science teachers association he reported; “While most workshops drew 8 or 10 teachers, the NGC workshop had 24! This tells me there really is a hunger for NGSS driven climate change curriculum, especially when the curriculum is provided for free.”

Other teachers that have piloted Next Generation Climate have said:

This is a student-centered, cross-curricular curriculum that engages the students in a wide variety of activities that address different learning styles and student strengths!

The curriculum relies on data and evidence from a variety of resources. Students learn how data is gathered and use C-E-R as a strategy to analyze the reliability and validity of data and resources.

This curriculum is well organized with authentic information. Excellent use of graphs. I appreciate the connections to NGSS, and the way the CER piece is handled.

Moment of Inspiration

Watch this clip from Minnesota Stories in a Changing Climate, “Where Science Meets Society.” University of Minnesota researcher Peter Snyder studies heat islands in the Twin Cities metro area, where large expanses of “gray infrastructure” create microclimates of slightly elevated temperatures. One of Peter’s colleagues, Tracy Twine, is featured in Lesson 4 of Next Generation Climate.


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