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What is Climate Change?

An At-Home STEM Lesson Plan Crafted by BGCHarlem STEM Specialist Chaelee Dalton

Alaska’s Muir Glacier in August 1941 (Left) and August 2004 | Credit: USGS


This week, we continue our unit on climate and climate change! Today we will build on our lessons about climate to zero in on climate change, why it changes, and how climate change is measured.

Next week, we will culminate our climate unit with activities that focus on climate activism and what we can do to respond to climate change and protect our planet.

If your child cannot read, read the text out loud to them. Ask them the questions and have them respond and/or solve on a separate sheet of paper.

If your child can read, simply give them the second page of this handout and have them read the text out loud or in their head.

ANNOUNCEMENT: We’re going live on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays! Click here if you want your child to participate in our virtual after school program. Materials: Blank paper, pen or pencil, internet access/YouTube, flashlight/phone flashlight

Addresses NGS Standards: 2-ESS1-1





(You may click here to print the lesson or the student may view the lesson online and write his/her answers on a separate piece of paper)


What is Climate Change

Credit: USGS

These two pictures were taken at the same place, Alaska’s Muir Glacier. The left (black and white) photo was taken in August 1941. The right (color) photo was taken in August 2004.

What are some differences between the glacier in the two pictures?

Write on a separate paper or below:

In the first photo, _______________________________________________________, but

in the second photo, _____________________________________________________.

What might have changed in the environment between the two pictures?

Why might the glacier’s change be a sign of climate change rather than a change in the weather?

I think the glacier’s environment has changed because ____________________________.

I think this is a sign of climate change because __________________________________.

We know that climate is the typical weather of a region, measured over 30 years. Climate can change, too. However, because it is long term and regional, we need to look at the very long term to observe changes in the world’s climate.

Next, watch the video below about the ice change in the Arctic, a polar climate.

Then, watch this video below to find out why the melting of ice and glaciers matters.

One pattern or trend I observed in the video is ___________________________________.

One reason why ice and glaciers melting matters is _______________________________.

One effect of the glaciers melting at the poles is the sea level rising in the rest of the world. Go to this interactive to find out what would happen in some major U.S. cities if the sea level rose 5 feet, 12 feet, or 25 feet.

How much of New York would flood if sea levels rose 5 feet? ____ %

New York City has about 9,000,000 people living in it. If everyone is distributed in the city

equally, how many people would be affected by the flooding? __________ people.

How much of New Orleans would flood if sea levels rose 5 feet? ___%

New Orleans has about 400,000 people living in it. If everyone is distributed in the city

equally, how many people would be affected by the flooding? __________ people.

Throughout these activities, we have observed some current and future effects of climate change, but what causes climate change?

Watch this video below to learn more about how the earth stays warm.

Then, based on the video, circle TRUE or FALSE

Greenhouse gases are bad for the earth. TRUE or FALSE because


The earth’s temperature is increasing at the fastest rate in earth’s history. TRUE or FALSE

because _______________________________________________________________.

Next week, we will learn more about what we can do to address climate change and the warming of the earth!


Special thanks to our #STEMMondays partners:

Follow BGCHarlem social media channels for daily updates. And students, we would love to see your work!

Be sure to upload a picture of yourself with your completed lessons using the hashtag #BGCHarlem.  




View our additional 'Resources For Students & Parents for Dealing with COVID-19' HERE

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