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Probable Futures


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


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 41 seconds, CC
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus



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  • This article explores the reasons behind a lack of temperature stability and is presented with several specific examples of accelerated warming on Earth.
  • Students will learn how increased greenhouse gases upset the balance of nature, and lead to an unstable environment.
  • The entire article serves as an introduction to another article specifically about heat.
Teaching Tips


  • The article is segmented with specific examples of the results of global warming.
  • The information provides a clear, step-by-step, explanation of how increased greenhouse gases affect the planet.
  • The narration of the article is quite helpful in assisting English-language learners and learners who prefer auditory learning.

Additional Prerequisites

  • In content areas other than science, the phrase "biotic feedback loop" may be new even for teachers.
  • Students will benefit from a definition list, since the vocabulary is rigorous, especially for upper elementary and middle-school populations.
  • A graphic is presented, but no explanation is provided, so teachers may wish to discuss the graphic briefly before assigning the article.
  • Younger students may be unsettled after reading the section about climate models, and the lack of preparation by individuals. 
  • The narration differs slightly from the visual text, with several words added and sentence phrasing modified. A few sentences are deleted altogether in the narration. The narration length is 11 minutes and 29 seconds.


  • For geography classes, students can use a globe and/or a map to locate Kyoto, Japan, which is mentioned in the article.
  • The use of interactive maps is mentioned, so teachers may wish to utilize a global interactive map while reading the article as a class.
  • Connections can be made in math classes, with students creating graphs depicting the relationship between carbon emissions and rising temperatures.
Scientist Notes
This article walks readers through the basics of temperature, heat, and climate change. It starts with a video discussing the history of the earth’s climate before humans, when humans were nomadic, and when humans settled down into civilizations up to today. It also discusses why the climate changed during these times, how their changes were natural causes of climate change, and how that differs from the anthropogenic climate change we are seeing now. The article also has a series of pages that go into more detail about climate change, why these changes are occurring, how they will differ in different parts of the world, and why this is a concerning problem. The article is quite detailed and emphasizes how the current climate changes are pushing our climate out of balance. The information presented is accurate. Interactive maps are included and sources of the data of these maps and figures are included. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.8.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.5 Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.9.9-12 Evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.
    • Dimension 3: Gathering and Evaluating Sources
      • D3.1.9-12 Gather relevant information from multiple sources representing a wide range of views while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.
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