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Created by


Jun 26, 2021


100 minutes


6th, 7th, 8th



Resource Language:


Regional Focus



Google Slides

Climate Confusion


In this lesson, students independently research the question:  “How is climate change causing confusion in how living things respond to the environment?” Exploring this climate confusion, students will discuss and define ways living things respond to environments. Then students will select a plant, animal, or even human population to research and present how climate change is impacting the plant, animal or human response to their rapidly changing environment.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch the video of “Amazing Animal Migrations” from National Geographic.

Step 2 - Investigate:
 Students read two articles about how climate change is impacting species. Next, students research a migratory animal, or plant, or human population of choice to show how climate change has impacted their interactions with the environment.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students present research and describe solutions.

Accompanying Teaching Materials

10 minutes

  • Teacher asks the whole class:

    • What are some things you wonder about after seeing the video?
    • What are the impacts humans are having on these land, air, and sea migrations?
    • Are other organisms besides animals impacted by the rapid changes in the environment?

  • Teacher states:
    • "Today we are going to explore some of your wonderings regarding how plants, animals, and even humans are being impacted by rapidly changing climates. Climate change is causing confusion in how organisms interact with their environment. We will start by reading a couple of articles for some background knowledge on the topic and then jump into investigating our own organisms."
60 minutes
  • Students read the articles.
    • Students read the two articles (Article 1 and Article 2). Students can read both articles or for time purposes focus only on Article 1 from National Geographic. It is best to put students in groups and break up the articles. Assign each group member part of an article to read and then the group members share with each other.
    • The reading could be assigned as homework, or teachers could collaborate with the Language Arts teacher to let it be a reading activity in that class.
    • Teacher asks the students to discuss their findings.
  • Students decide which organism to research.
    • Teacher sets a timer for 5 minutes for this task and prompts the students to make a decision about which organism they would like to research.
    • Students can use the two articles to help guide them in deciding which organism they would like to research. They can research plants, animals, fungi, or even humans because climate change impacts all living things!
    • Once the students decide, have them make a copy of the research slides and complete their title page.
  • Students research their organisms and create slides.

30 minutes
  • Students present to the whole class or at a school assembly to spread awareness that climate change goes beyond just impacting one organism. The important message to send is even just one organism being impacted can completely disrupt ecosystems which, in turn, impacts everything.
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson is great to connect with the social studies teacher and create discussions or extended lessons around human migration due to climate change.
  • The National Geographic article features a section called "No Songs About the Sable," and it recognizes Indigenous knowledge structures as ways of knowing. It is very important to emphasize this as a way to research and understand the environment because it goes beyond the traditional quantitative data collect methods predominantly presented in traditional science classes.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students must create an account to access the articles on National Geographic, and there is a limit of 3 articles unless you have a subscription.


  • This could be a sensitive topic for students who experienced moving because of climate change impacting their previous locations.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
      • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.8.6-8 Analyze how relationships between humans and environments extend or contract spatial patterns of settlement and movement.


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