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  • Global

Climate Change Inquiry Lab

Author: My NASA Data
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th
Subjects: Science, Earth and Space Sciences
Formats: Jamboard, PDF, Microsoft Powerpoint, YouTube Video
Resource Types:
  • Worksheet
  • Lesson Plan
  • Presentation Slides
  • Experiment
  • Video, 6 minutes, 28 seconds
  • Video, 4 minutes, 31 seconds

  • Three laboratory experiments investigate factors that drive climate change: increasing concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, sea ice and temperature, and comparative effect of sea ice vs. land ice melt on sea level rise. 

Teaching Tips


  • Instructions are clear, comprehensive, and well-sequenced. 

  • A 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.

  • Each lab worksheet prompts students to write a hypothesis statement, record data on a table, claim whether the data supports the hypothesis (or not), and justify the claim statement.

  • The lab worksheets also guide students through added videos, questions, or interactive simulations that enhance the understanding of the experiment. This work is done while students are not actively collecting data. 

Additional Prerequisites:

  • Students should understand how greenhouse gases trap heat that warms the planet.

  • Students should understand how light vs. dark colors absorb or reflect 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  • The labs are terrific, but some of the extension links are either broken or outdated.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 student worksheets are well-scaffolded and can be edited appropriately to be more open-ended as needed.

  • The added links per worksheet support the investigation and help students to interpret data and analyze results.

  • Additional resources can be used to extend thinking beyond the scope of each experiment.

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 emission 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. Retrospective discussion is possible.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
      • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
      • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.


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