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6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Worksheets
  • Lesson Plans
  • Presentation Slides
  • Experiments
  • Videos, 6 minutes, 28 seconds
  • Videos, 4 minutes, 31 seconds

Regional Focus



PDF, Microsoft Powerpoint

Climate Change Inquiry Lab

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  • Three laboratory experiments investigate factors that drive climate change: the increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, sea ice and temperature, and the comparative effect of sea ice versus land ice melt on sea level rise.
  • Students complete one of the experiments, connect their findings to real-world data, and present their discoveries to the class.
Teaching Tips


  • The instructions are clear, comprehensive, and well-sequenced.

  • The lab worksheets effectively guide students to construct an understanding of the topic by using the scientific method in the experiment and supplementing those findings with additional resources like videos and interactive simulations.

Additional Prerequisites:

  • Students should understand the greenhouse effect and absorption vs reflection of radiant light.

  • It would be helpful for students to understand the structure and properties of water with respect to phase change and high specific heat capacity.

  • The Melting Ice and Sea Level Rise Lab have some PBS NOVA links that require Adobe Flash player.

  • The labs are terrific, but some of the extension links are either broken or outdated. Please adjust as necessary.
  • The Teacher Guide explains relevant background information, presents each student handout with all supporting links, provides example data per experiment, includes a project grading rubric, and offers lesson extension information and activities.


  • The student worksheets are well-scaffolded and can be edited appropriately to be more open-ended as needed.

  • This lesson is designed to fill two class periods, with one being used for the lab and the other for presentations. If time permits, students can complete all of the labs over three days instead.

  • Students can use the SubjectToClimate resource database to explore their topic further using accurate and high-quality sources.

Scientist Notes

Students will be proficient in simulating and investigating a marginal increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases' effects on temperature. This resource is valid and suitable to understand climate change caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The resource, videos, charts, and lab activities are recommended for teaching.

Other Notes:

  • The Student Capture Sheet links to two informative videos that explain global warming and melting ice, but date from 2009 and 2010 so predictive comments may be outdated. A retrospective discussion is possible.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
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