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Date

Jul 29, 2021

Duration

70 minutes

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Health

Resource Language:

English

Regional Focus

Global, Asia

Format

Google Docs, Google Slides

Why Wet-Bulb Temperature Is Terrifying

Synopsis

This lesson connects Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future with the dangers of extremely high wet-bulb temperature. 


Step 1 - Inquire: Teacher reads aloud the first chapter of The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson.


Step 2 - Investigate: In groups, students read an article on wet-bulb temperature and answer questions in their own document.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students watch a video on extreme heat in Jacobabad, Pakistan and complete a written reflection.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Inquire
40 minutes

  • Teacher reads aloud the first chapter of The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson.

  • This chapter is quite long. Here are some options:
    • Read the entire thing all the way through. As students listen, they track one word, one phrase, and one sentence that sticks out to them.
    • Read part of the chapter and assign the rest for homework.
    • Assign the chapter for homework the day before the lesson.
    • Partner with an ELA teacher. Students can read this chapter in another class either before or after completing steps 2 and 3 on wet-bulb temperatures.
    • Read the chapter in chunks. Have students discuss after each chunk. 
      • Chunk 1:
        • Begin: It was getting hotter.
        • End: A man shook his head. “That water is in the sun. It’s as hot as a bath. It’s worse than the air.”
      • Chunk 2:
        • Begin: Curious, alarmed, feeling himself breathing hard, Frank walked down streets toward the lake.
        • End: The man with the gun scowled as he heard this. He pointed the gun at Frank one last time. “You did this,” he said, and then they slammed the door on him and were gone.
      • Chunk 3:
        • Begin: Frank stood, rubbed his arms where the men had grasped him.
        • End: Everyone was dead.
  • Teacher facilitates a brief discussion after students have completed the chapter.
Investigate
15 minutes
Inspire
15 minutes
  • Teacher shows Too Hot For Humans? Jacobabad Temperatures Rise to 50°C.

  • Students write their own reflection to question #6 in their own documents.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This lesson is engaging, scary, and immensely powerful.

  • Students will reflect on the emotional impact of learning about wet-bulb temperatures. Hopefully this will drive many students to take meaningful climate action.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson shows what happens to the human body when there are extreme wet-bulb temperatures. Humans are unable to survive wet-bulb temperatures above 35°C (95°F).

  • The first chapter from The Ministry for the Future describes an intense heatwave in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is terrifying. The Ministry for the Future is climate fiction, a genre of literature “characterized most frequently by efforts to imagine the impact of drastic climatological change on human life and perceptions.” (Source: Oxford Research Encyclopedias “Climate Fiction in English”)
  • Extreme heat is a scary element of the climate crisis. If there is not aggressive climate action soon, huge swaths of the Earth will become uninhabitable due to extreme heat. Many of these places are densely populated, including the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia.
  • To learn more about wet-bulb temperatures, you can read this article from NewScientist, which outlines wet-bulb temperatures exceeding 35°C in Jacobabad, Pakistan, and Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

Differentiation

  • Some students may be scared or frightened by The Ministry for the Future. That is OK. Climate change can be scary sometimes. Provide space for your students to share their emotions about the climate crisis.

  • Some students may need help analyzing the map in the NOAA article. You can help students by using the teacher slideshow, which has a large version of the map.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.9.6-8 Evaluate the influences of long-term human-induced environmental change on spatial patterns of conflict and cooperation.
      • D2.Geo.10.6-8 Analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.

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