Topic 3: Introduction to Climate Change

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We’ll help you to feel comfortable and confident while teaching your class about Climate Change. During the topic we'll explore the basics of the science, and how it is affecting both Antarctica and Aotearoa-NZ. Students are encouraged to localise their learnings.

Whether this is your first time teaching young ones about the differences between weather vs. climate, or whether you’re a seasoned tree-hugging, unshowered, unshaven, bare-foot yodelling hippie (like us), there’ll be lots of cool content to explore!

NB - Feel free to check out our teacher PD session that we ran with Climate Scientist James Renwick in the 'webinar' section for some extra deets and inspo!

Core objectives:

  • Year 1-2:  Understand the basics of weather, relate this to climate change, and what causes it.
  • Year 3-5, 6-8: Understand what climate change is, why it’s a problem and what causes it.

Mātauranga Māori component:

Exploring the concept of kaitiakitanga.

Call-to-Action: Calculate your carbon footprint!

Year 1/2 Level 1


Major links: 

Science 

  • Planet Earth and Beyond - Earth systems, Interacting systems, Astronomical systems
  • Nature of Science - Investigating in science, Participating and contributing

Health and Physical Education

  • Personal Health and Physical Development - Regular physical activity
  • Movement Concepts and Motor Skills - Movement skills; Science and technology

Minor links: 

English 

  • Speaking, Presenting - Processes and strategies, Ideas

Year 3 - 5 Level 2 and 3


Major links 

English

  • Listening, Reading, and Viewing - Processes and strategies, Ideas
  • Speaking, Writing, and Presenting (depending on how students choose to present their inquiries) - Processes and strategies, Purposes and audiences, Ideas

Science 

  • Planet Earth and Beyond - Earth systems, Interacting systems, Astronomical systems (level 3 only)
  • Nature of science  - Understanding about science, Investigating science, Communicating in science, Participating and contributing
  • Physical World - Physical inquiry and physics concepts

Minor links 

English 

  • Speaking, Writing, and Presenting - Structure, Language features

Year 6 - 8 Level 3 and 4

Major links 

English

  • Listening, Reading, and Viewing - Processes and strategies, Ideas
  • Speaking, Writing, and Presenting (depending on how students choose to present their inquiries) - Processes and strategies, Purposes and audiences, Ideas

Science 

  • Planet Earth and Beyond - Earth systems, Interacting systems
  • Nature of science - Understanding about science, Investigating science, Communicating in science, Participating and contributing
  • Physical World - Physical inquiry and physics concepts

Minor links 

English 

  • Speaking, Writing, and Presenting - Structure, Language features

Years 1 - 2

Core objective: Understand the basics of weather, relate this to climate change, and what causes it.

Short lesson summary:

In this topic's suggested lesson plan students are introduced to the differences between weather and climate, through discussion, video and a sorting activity. This is followed by an explanation about how and why climate change is happening. Finally students can play a Squawk Squad version of ‘octopus’ to see how emissions can trap the sun’s heat close to earth. 



Call-to-Action: What’s my carbon footprint?
This is a printable activity that involves kids coloring a foot outline based on their energy choices, no devices needed.


Remember - feel free to give us direct feedback by commenting directly on the lesson plans themselves!

Did you find alternative resources or an alternative use for this lesson plan in your classroom? Share it here!

Year 1 - 2 Resource
Extra Resources
  • How CO2 causes a warmer climate experiment (45 minutes)
  • Climate inequality - who’s really responsible for climate change? (30 minutes +) 
  • Model UN - Climate Crisis (2 hours)
  • Climate or Weather - card sorting activity (10 minutes) .
  • Climate or Weather - jelly bean or button activity (10 minutes) 
  • Don’t trap the gas! Game (30 minutes) 
  • Investigating sea level rise (45 minutes)
  • Science and partnership with a Sāmoan village – how science can help us future proof our communities from climate change (50 minutes) 

Years 3 - 5

Core objective:

Understand what climate change is, why it’s a problem and what causes it.

Short lesson summary:

In this week's suggested lesson plan students are introduced to the differences between weather and climate, and the scientific basics of climate change. The focus of the lesson is an inquiry, where students are supported with resources to find out how climate change will impact their region and Aotearoa.


Call-to-Action: What’s my carbon footprint?
Students will use this online carbon footprint calculator to gain insight into where their carbon footprint comes from, and how many earths we would need if everyone lived like them! Parents of students are encouraged to get involved too.


NB - From the next topic CTA onwards (Topic 4), students will be encouraged to take direct tangible actions towards creating a healthier environment.


Remember - feel free to give us direct feedback by commenting directly on the lesson plans themselves!

Did you find alternative resources or an alternative use for this lesson plan in your classroom? Share it here!

Year 3 - 5 Resource
Extra Resources
  • How CO2 causes a warmer climate experiment (45 minutes)
  • Climate inequality - who’s really responsible for climate change? (30 minutes +) 
  • Model UN - Climate Crisis (2 hours)
  • Climate or Weather - card sorting activity (10 minutes) .
  • Climate or Weather - jelly bean or button activity (10 minutes) 
  • Don’t trap the gas! Game (30 minutes) 
  • Investigating sea level rise (45 minutes)
  • Science and partnership with a Sāmoan village – how science can help us future proof our communities from climate change (50 minutes) 

Years 6 - 8

Core objective:

Understand what climate change is, why it’s a problem and what causes it.

Short lesson summary:

In this week's suggested lesson plan students are introduced to the differences between weather and climate, and the scientific basics of climate change. The focus of the lesson is an inquiry, where students are supported with resources to find out how climate change will impact their region and Aotearoa.


Call-to-Action: What’s my carbon footprint?
Students will use this online carbon footprint calculator to gain insight into where their carbon footprint comes from, and how many earths we would need if everyone lived like them! Parents of students are encouraged to get involved too.


NB - From the next topic CTA onwards (Topic 4), students will be encouraged to take direct tangible actions towards creating a healthier environment.


Remember - feel free to give us direct feedback by commenting directly on the lesson plans themselves!

Did you find alternative resources or an alternative use for this lesson plan in your classroom? Share it here!

Year 6 - 8 Resource
Extra Resources
  • How CO2 causes a warmer climate experiment (45 minutes)
  • Climate inequality - who’s really responsible for climate change? (30 minutes +) 
  • Model UN - Climate Crisis (2 hours)
  • Climate or Weather - card sorting activity (10 minutes) .
  • Climate or Weather - jelly bean or button activity (10 minutes) 
  • Don’t trap the gas! Game (30 minutes) 
  • Investigating sea level rise (45 minutes)
  • Science and partnership with a Sāmoan village – how science can help us future proof our communities from climate change (50 minutes) 

Description:

Kaitiakitanga means guardianship and protection. In the Māori world view, people are closely connected to the land and the whenua bonded by whakapapa. Therefore we have a moral & ethical responsibility to care for our environments as it does for us. 

Our role as Kaitiaki comes in many forms. Similarly to many whānau, hapu and iwi, species are also considered Kaitiaki. They too provide guardianship and protection over Whānau, communities and the natural world.

One example of Kaitiaki is by thinking of the native birds as the language of the Whenua. They share with us guidance by the way they move and sing with the natural world. If we learnt to read these messages or tohu we are able to align ourselves in harmony with the natural world.


Integrated topic:

In this topic students will extend their knowledge on the meaning of Kaitiakitanga. They will inquire what Kaitiakitanga looks like in their localities and the natural world. You will explore Kaitiaki practices that contribute to reducing the effects of climate change from a Te Ao Māori perspective.  

Word bank for the week: Kaitiakitanga, Tohu, Rāhui, Take, Utu & ea. 


Activities:

  • Researching, identifying and presenting on "Types of Kaitiaki (Mammals, people, initiatives, landmarks etc) 
  • Creating Kaitiaki initiative for climate change reduction.
  • Kaitiaki hat in our rohe/region

These Te Ao Māori resources have kindly been put together by Hinga

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