Climate Change Curriculum

Classroom Curriculum

  • The Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) is led by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The resulting standards-based curriculum for grades K-12 spans a variety of environmental education topics, including climate change.
  • The National Science Foundation and NBC Learn have partnered to create Changing Planet, a series of 13 videos and associated lesson plans about our planet's changing climate. These materials are especially useful for high school or college Earth Science classes.
  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has developed a downloadable standards-based climate change curriculum for 4th and 5th grade levels. They also provide information and contacts for other curriculum resources.
  • The Lawrence Hall of Science has developed Global Systems Science, an earth science course for high-school students that includes climate change.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies have developed a Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Educators to help educators inside and outside the classroom teach middle school students about climate change and its impact on the environment and wildlife.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey provides Science Education Materials including resources that are matched to California content standards.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has developed lesson plans for K-12 classes on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and also has a portal for educators with a wealth of energy resources including curriculum
  • The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) network has an extensive database of environmental education resources (including curriculum and other classroom resources), as well as updates on the latest environmental education initiatives in the state.
  • The California Department of Education provides Environmental Education Resources, including grant information, curriculum, events, and information about state planning for environmental education.

Classroom Resources
(please note that these sites may require Flash)

  • Unscrew America is a youth-oriented site that shows you how you can change a light bulb and change the world.
  • The Bloom tool from the BBC lets users see how the choices they make affect the climate. (Much of the lingo is “British English”)
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science has set up a website where you can Ask a Scientist about climate change and other scientific topics.
  • Many federal agencies provide climate change education resources. A comprehensive list of these along with their websites is available in Table 9-1 in chapter 9 of the U.S. Climate Action Report - PDF 2.87MB.

Programs for Classrooms and Schools

  • Cool The Earth has developed a school assembly program to educate K-8 students about global warming. The program emphasizes empowering the students and their families to take action to slow global warming.
  • The Alliance for Climate Education provides classroom and assembly presentations to high school students on climate change, and recognizes students and schools that are taking action on climate change through scholarships and grants.

Off-campus Educational Resources

  • The Birch Aquarium at Scripps in San Diego has a global warming exhibit called “Feeling the Heat”.
  • California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco reopened September 27, 2008 in a LEED Platinum Green Building, and features an extensive climate change exhibit.

Additional Resources

  • The California Air Resources Board provides climate change resources for kids, including fun climate activities and green tips, and a variety of curriculum resources sorted by grade level.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a climate change site for kids, including explanations of key terms, games, teacher resources and more. They also have a "teaching center" for teachers, with lesson plans, information on grants and scholarships, and other resources.
  • the U.S. Department of Energy has a Fossil Energy Toolkit for Educators which emphasizes the current role of fossil fuels in providing energy, but also has a number of links to other curriculum resources.
  • and feature additional resources for students and teachers interested in learning and teaching about climate change.
  • Scholastic Act Green is geared to younger children and includes tips on how to act green and additional resources for teachers, administrators, and parents.
  • The U.S. EPA 's Teaching Center provides climate change and other resources for teachers.
  • These Atmospheric Education Resources from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program at the U.S. Department of Energy provide resources for teachers and students on climate science, with a particular emphasis on the climatic role of clouds.
  • The Will Steger Foundation holds teacher training Summer Institutes in Minnesota every summer that help teachers from around the country teach climate change curriculum to their students. Learn more and apply for the upcoming Institute: Watch this great video from the 2010 Summer Institute: