This lesson focuses on how climate change impacts agriculture. Students focus on how heat extremes and changes in precipitation will affect crop yields.
Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch videos showing how climate change will impact agriculture. Students create a hypothesis that states how high heat and increased amounts of water might affect the germination of seeds.
Step 2 - Investigate: Students set up an experiment within the classroom and then observe their crops for a set amount of weeks, collecting data on their data sheets.
Step 3 - Inspire: Students write a conclusion showing the results of the data they collected and make a comparison between their experiment and climate change.
Students are actively engaged in how differences in temperature and precipitation may affect crops grown in New Jersey.
Students practice the skill of designing a scientific investigation.
This lesson requires one block of 50 minutes for setting up the experiments and writing hypotheses. Students will need to observe their plants growing every few days. The students should have a final 50-minute block to write up the results of their experiment.
Teachers should have the supplies to grow the crops in the classroom, including:
Access to a water source
Access to a window or heat lamps or ability to plant outside
Teachers should have ways to control water. Students can individually water their own plants with either more or less water.
The type of seed that could be used in the classroom is radishes.
It is easy to grow, germinates relatively quickly and can be grown inside to control the weather conditions for the variables in the experiment.
If the school has an outdoor garden, the radishes can be planted outside in the spring or fall.
Peas are another recommended option.
Students may need help with designing the experiment. The teacher can assign specific hypotheses to students in order to help facilitate the investigation.
If materials are difficult to acquire, a non-lab resource could be Food and Farming.
This lesson details ways that climate change can affect farmers — both those who grow plants and those who take care of cattle. The provided video links to more information from Rutgers University. This lesson also has students think about how changes in temperature and precipitation affect crops and leads them in designing an experiment to test their ideas. This resource is recommended for teaching.
This lesson is aligned to New Jersey standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.Discover more on the New Jersey Climate Education Hub.