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The Climate Initiative


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


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, Health

Resource Types

  • Digital Text
  • Interactive Media
  • Video, 58 minutes, 28 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Video, 52 minutes, 15 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, USA - Northeast, Maine

Civics and Climate Action Learning Lab

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  • This resource contains interactive media and multiple videos that explore the three branches of American government, how young people are putting pressure on these branches to address climate change, and how youth mayors can influence climate policy.
  • Students will learn that the legislative branch is responsible for making laws, young people can influence the judicial branch by becoming plaintiffs in key lawsuits, and youth mayors can influence climate policy by writing bills and leading town halls related to climate change.
  • A comprehensive teacher guide, including six lessons that go along with this learning lab, can be utilized to create an entire civics unit for your classroom.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will get to see an interview with two high school students, covering a multitude of important and, often, unaddressed topics, such as youth-created policy change, climate change as a generational justice issue, and narratives used to distract the public from the fact that climate change is a systemic issue.
  • The Held v. State of Montana case is used as a real-life example for how youth can be involved in climate policy through lawsuits.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may be beneficial for students to have a background in federalism and the federal legislative system.
  • Students should understand what climate change is and that the use of fossil fuels is a driving force behind climate change.


  • The videos can accompany a brainstorming session where students consider how they can advocate for changes in climate policy.
  • This resource can augment a classroom activity where students investigate the climate policies of their local and state governments.
  • This resource can support a lesson on how cases move through the state and federal court systems.
  • This resource can enhance a lesson on the history of American youth activism.
Scientist Notes
This resource from The Climate Initiative is an excellent resource for any classroom discussion about climate change. A Bitmoji classroom provides an interactive way for students to learn about climate change, climate policy, energy efficiency, and environmental justice. In addition to the Bitmoji classroom, there is a virtual tour of the three branches of government and how they affect climate policy. Additionally, policy toolkits are provided to help students bring climate policy to their local communities. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.4.6-8 Explain the powers and limits of the three branches of government, public officials, and bureaucracies at different levels in the United States and in other countries.
      • D2.Civ.10.9-12 Analyze the impact and the appropriate roles of personal interests and perspectives on the application of civic virtues, democratic principles, constitutional rights, and human rights.
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
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