A group of students look at a laptop computer

15 Climate Change Videos for Kids

By: Emily Rogers

Aug 8, 2022 | 18 minute read

Teachers know that students love videos! Videos combine audio, charts, graphs, maps, diagrams, footage from faraway places, and even animations to bring information to life. That’s why SubjectToClimate has put together a list of 15 climate change videos for kids, all of which are sure to teach your students (and maybe even you) something new about climate change! These videos can be used in a variety of ways, from engaging homework assignments to hooks at the beginning of a classroom lesson. Once you start watching and learning, you won’t be able to stop!

Our Climate Our Future Series

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Climate Action

Resource Type: Video

This series of short videos, divided into 11 chapters, covers all climate change topics, from understanding carbon dioxide to renewable energy. Each video features the same two hosts who appear as both live-action people and animated versions of themselves.

The videos do a great job of illustrating complicated topics using animations, diagrams, graphs, and charts. Students will enjoy the casual, funny tone, and teachers will appreciate how much information is packed into a few short minutes. Our Climate Our Future broaches several serious issues like climate justice, climate-related health problems, and climate migration in ways that engage young people.

Because the videos are so short, teachers can easily incorporate them into their lessons. Some of the videos include worksheets, articles, and activities that turn them into complete lessons. The “Our Climate Our Future” discussion guide offers meaningful discussion questions for each of the eleven videos. Teachers could show the videos at the beginning of each class or spread them out and show one video per week. Students could also watch the videos on an individual device and use the discussion questions as journal prompts.

Video Series Guide

Youth Climate Stories

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Social-Emotional Learning, Climate Action

Resource Type: Video

Each of the 22 videos in the “Youth Climate Stories” series is narrated by a youth climate activist who explains how climate change affects their local community. The videos feature a diverse range of students from all over the United States.

Students will connect to these stories because they showcase young people who are concerned about the health and well-being of their communities. The videos discuss several common problems including the threat of sea level rise, fracking-induced earthquakes, and asthma-causing air pollution. This series will inspire students to take action against climate change in their communities.

Since there are 22 videos, teachers could consider incorporating them into their weekly classroom routine. Spreading the videos over the school year may help students understand the pervasive impacts of climate change. Students could keep digital or paper journals wherein they will record a few notes on each video. 

Teachers could give students the following writing prompts to get them started - How did this video make me feel? What did the youth activist say that made me feel that way? How is the activist making a difference in their community? At the end of the year, the students will have a long list of journal reflections to remind them of ways that youth activists are working to combat climate change.

Video Series Guide

The Solution to Climate Change Is All Around Us

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Social-Emotional Learning, Climate Action

Resource Type: Video

This YEARS Project video outlines nature-based solutions to fighting climate change, slowing the 6th mass extinction, and protecting the planet for future generations. Students will learn that restoring and protecting forests, preserving wildlife, and rebuilding wild coastal habitats will have massive impacts on Earth’s future.

This short video shows fascinating footage of wildlife and natural spaces around the world. The video teaches students that when humans leave nature alone, Earth maintains a perfect balance. Students will learn about several actions that they can take to help promote the environmental health of the planet. Teachers will appreciate that the video is realistic about the fact that nature-based solutions will only work if humans stop greenhouse gas emissions.

Teachers can use this video in units on ecosystems, food webs, habitat loss, coastal erosion, deforestation, or the carbon cycle. After watching the video, groups of students could conduct research on each of the three topics: forests, wildlife, and coastal habitats. Students could present their findings to the class after their research is complete. This video would also be an excellent way to kick off an environmental service project.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk About It

Grade: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Social Studies, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type: Video

In this uplifting TED video, climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe explains that people have to talk about climate change if they want to fight it. She believes that climate conversations that come from a place of hope will ignite interest in climate solutions.

Katherine Hayhoe is a dynamic speaker who combines humor with valuable insight. Students will be interested in the advice that Hayhoe gives, as well as the facts that she shares about renewable energy. Hayhoe’s advice on the importance of climate conversations will leave students feeling empowered, as starting climate conversations represents an achievable action step for each of them!

Teachers could show this video at the end of a climate change unit. Students may feel scared, worried, sad, or angry after learning about the catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change. Empowering them to talk about the climate crisis with their friends and family is a great way to help them channel these feelings into action. Teachers can also allow students to role-play climate conversations so that they have the opportunity to practice in a safe environment. For more ideas on addressing climate anxiety, check out this SubjectToClimate blog.

Climate Change 1958: The Bell Telephone Science Hour

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Type: Video

This historic footage comes from a 1958 Bell Telephone Science Hour film produced by Frank Capra. In it, a scientist explains that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are causing global warming. As the scientist speaks about the potential of ice melting in polar regions, an animation depicts how sea level rise will inundate the Mississippi valley.

This film clip is valuable because it gives students an insider’s view of climate science from more than sixty years ago. Teachers will appreciate how this video can be used as a primary source to show students what scientists already knew about climate science in the late 1950s. 

Teachers can pair this film clip with this video on the deliberate plan to cast doubt on the reality of climate change to start a conversation on climate change denial. Social studies, ethics, and economics classes could discuss the reasons why action was not taken earlier to prevent global warming and climate change.

Who Is Responsible For Climate Change? – Who Needs To Fix It?

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Social Studies, History, Justice

Resource Type: Video

This animated video explains which countries are responsible for the highest carbon emissions, both historically and currently. The video also explains that we must consider per capita carbon emissions as another important factor when determining which countries have contributed most to climate change. In the end, the video determines that all countries must work together to solve climate change. Wealthier countries must invest in renewable energy solutions for developing countries so they may continue to develop without contributing further to climate change.

This video broaches several challenging topics in an approachable way. Students will enjoy the colorful animations and helpful graphs and maps. Instead of providing a simple answer to the question of who is responsible for climate change, the video explains why the answer is complicated. 

Teachers can use this video to set the stage for a debate in social studies or history classes. Students could argue for or against the idea that wealthy countries have a responsibility to help developing countries set up renewable infrastructure. For tips and ideas on climate change debates, check out this SubjectToClimate blog. Ethics classes could discuss connections between energy access and sustainable development.

How to Change Your Diet to Fight Climate Change

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health, Climate Action

Resource Type: Video

This video by the YEARS Project describes the impact of meat and dairy production on global greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and deforestation. Students will learn how consuming less meat and dairy can help fight climate change.

Teachers will appreciate the approachable terms used to explain why plant-based diets are better for the environment. Though the video says that a vegan diet is the most sustainable option, it also offers solutions for people who want to continue eating smaller amounts of meat and dairy.

This video could be used in health, biology, or social studies classes. After watching the video, teachers could use this well-designed SubjectToClimate lesson plan to teach students about the carbon footprint of food and how different foods impact the environment. The video is featured in this SubjectToClimate lesson plan and this SubjectToClimate game on finding solutions to climate change. 

Why Climate Change Makes Extreme Weather Worse

Grade: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Video

This video from Our Changing Climate explains how climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events. Severe hurricanes, wildfires, and floods are dangerous for people and cause massive property destruction. The video suggests that it is time to invest in mitigation strategies and work to adapt to the changing climate.

Teachers will appreciate how this video tackles confounding aspects of extreme weather using scientific explanations. For example, the video explains that climate change has caused more extreme precipitation events because warmer air can hold more water than cooler air. The video has a serious, mature tone that will appeal to older students.

Civics and government teachers could incorporate this video into a lesson on the way the federal government approaches disaster preparedness. Students could have a debate about whether it is right for the government to relocate people who live in disaster-prone areas. For more resources on teaching about extreme weather, teachers can check out this 4 week professional development course that features SubjectToClimate resources.

What Happens If We Cut Down All of a City’s Trees?

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Biology, History, Geography, Health

Resource Type: Video

This brilliant video uses the example of two ancient cities, Uruk and Anuradhapura, to illustrate the vital role that trees play in sustaining urban life. Students will learn that trees filter water, prevent erosion, absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade, and improve people’s mental health.

This is a rare example of a video that will appeal to 3rd-grade and 12th-grade students alike! The pleasing animation style and excellent content will engage students of all ages. With connections to many academic subjects, teachers could use this video in a variety of classes. Social studies classes could research how Singapore’s approach to tree planting has improved other aspects of its society. Science classes could learn how trees filter both water and air, making both healthier for animals and people. Geography classes could discuss societies that value their trees and forests and what they are doing to protect them.

Climate Change: Earth's Giant Game of Tetris

Grade: 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Video

This TED-Ed video uses the game Tetris as a metaphor for the way that carbon builds in Earth’s atmosphere. As humans burn fossil fuels and destroy carbon sinks, the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere becomes harder and harder to manage. This quick video offers a memorable metaphor for students to conceptualize how the greenhouse effect causes global temperatures to rise. 

At the beginning of class, teachers could give students five minutes to play Tetris. When the time is up, students could write about how Tetris is a metaphor for climate change. After watching the video, students could revisit their notes and write a follow-up statement explaining what they learned about climate change and how Tetris may be an analogy for the problem of carbon emissions accumulating in the atmosphere.

We've Ignored Climate Change for More Than a Century

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Type: Video

This PBS video presents a succinct history of climate science over the last 200 years. Students will learn that scientists noticed the correlation between carbon dioxide and rising global temperatures as early as the 1850s, yet humans still struggle to make significant progress in limiting carbon emissions. The video explains why humans find it so difficult to act on climate change.

PBS’s Hot Mess videos are packed with climate change information and presented in a high-interest, often humorous format. This video, the first in the series, shows students how scientists were able to untangle the mysteries of Earth’s atmosphere and ultimately arrive at the conclusion that humans are causing the climate to change by emitting greenhouse gases. Students will be interested to hear about scientists, like Eunice Foote and John Tyndall, who were studying atmospheric gases more than 150 years ago! 

Teachers could use this video to introduce science students to the concept of climate science and why it is such an important field of study. Civics or government classes could show this video to discuss local, national, and international climate policy problems and successes. Sociology or psychology classes could use this video in a broader discussion about why humans have trouble addressing broad problems such as climate change, even when they are presented with a bounty of evidence.

Climate Solutions 101: Making It All Happen

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering, Climate Action

Resource Type: Video

This is the final video in a series from Project Drawdown. Environmental scientist Jonathan Foley explains that climate solutions depend on policies, capital, good business practices, focused technology, and a culture shift. Foley suggests that instead of believing that we have to do everything at once, we can think about implementing solutions in three waves. 

This polished video provides dozens of insights on tackling climate change. Jonathan Foley presents the information in a thoughtful, approachable way that will make students feel excited about possible solutions. The video reframes climate solutions as opportunities that often have multifold benefits for society, without shying away from the grave reality that we are running out of time. 

Consider using this video to kick off a research project. Students could identify one accelerator or solution from the video to learn more about. Project Drawdown’s Table of Solutions offers a more comprehensive list of solutions from which students can choose. Students could present their findings to the class in the form of a slideshow presentation, video, podcast, comic book, or TED talk-style speech.

The Cost of Carbon

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Economics, History

Resource Type: Video

This impassioned video presents the surprisingly long history of climate science and shows that all humans on Earth are impacted by climate change. These impacts have huge economic, personal, environmental, and geopolitical costs. The video was produced in 2013, so it does not cite the most recent climate disasters, but it still does an excellent job of showing the dire costs of climate change.

This video will grab students’ attention and help them to see the gravity of climate change. Teachers should be aware that while the video avoids showing anything gruesome, the footage from climate disasters is intense. That, coupled with the knowledge that scientists have understood how fossil fuels affect the atmosphere for more than a century, will be harrowing for some students.

Teachers can use this video as an introduction to climate disasters and their economic impact. Economics classes can complete cost-benefit analyses to answer the question: should governments spend billions or trillions of dollars to mitigate climate change? Students can also consider the economic ramifications of doing nothing to prevent climate change. Economics and civics classes could discuss the prospect of carbon taxes or carbon cap-and-trade models. For more information on intergenerational justice and the federal budget, check out this SubjectToClimate lesson plan.

How Regenerative Agriculture Curbs Climate Change

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Justice, Climate Action

Resource Type: Video

This video from Ecosia explores the principles, global impacts, and scalability of regenerative agriculture. Students will learn about best practices for regenerative agriculture, the role that healthy soil plays in the nutrient cycle, the importance of trees in agriculture, and the steps they can take to support a sustainable global food system.

This fascinating video links biodiversity loss, deforestation, and a large percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions to industrial agricultural practices. Students may be surprised to learn that industrial agricultural practices are not the only way to produce enough food to feed the world. The video explains how diversifying crops, using no-till farming methods, and interspersing trees with crops can keep the land fertile, store carbon, and prevent erosion.

Students could research local farms that use sustainable farming methods and arrange a field trip or video call with the farmers to learn more about the regenerative methods they employ. Civics or government classes could research how the USDA supports regenerative practices in American farms. Students could also think about how government incentives might motivate more farmers to use regenerative farming practices.

How Climate Change Has Intensified Hurricane Season

Grade: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type: Video

The "NowThis Earth" video explains how climate change is causing hurricanes to become stronger, slower, and larger than past storms. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe discusses recent hurricanes that have hit the Gulf Coast and she explains that hurricanes will continue to intensify if nothing is done to stop climate change. Hayhoe also demonstrates how hurricanes impact vulnerable populations the most, even though they are the least responsible for climate change. 

This video goes beyond warning viewers that hurricanes are getting worse; it also teaches them why hurricanes are intensifying. Students will learn that the oceans are absorbing the vast majority of extra heat created by greenhouse gasses, providing a perfect incubator for severe storms to develop.

Biology and chemistry classes could use this video as a hook for lessons about the flow of energy through ecosystems, the increasing capacity of the atmosphere to hold more water vapor at higher temperatures, the effects of heat on chemical reactions, the density of liquid water, and the reduction in dissolved oxygen available in the oceans as they warm. Social studies and economics classes could discuss the human and environmental costs of more powerful, longer-lived storms and compare those with the costs of addressing climate change, taking into account the additional loss of life (which cannot be financially measured) that may occur from more extreme storms.

Keeping students engaged can be a challenge, but these outstanding videos can help. Whether you are teaching about agricultural methods, the greenhouse effect, or severe weather, SubjectToClimate has you covered. This list is only a small taste of the more than 1000 amazing videos that SubjectToClimate has to offer, so be sure to check out the resource database for other amazing ways to get students learning about climate change.

About the Author

Emily has a bachelor’s degree in English and French and a master’s degree in library and information science. She spent seven years teaching information evaluation and research skills as a school librarian in K-8 public schools. As a lifelong resident of Southern Louisiana, Emily has a particular interest in how climate change affects coastal regions. She hopes to connect educators with resources that will help them to teach their students about the disproportionately adverse effects of climate change on historically marginalized communities.