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Local Climate Change Impacts & Solutions

Local Climate Change Impacts & Solutions

Written by Laurie Giarratani
November 10, 2017

You can download a PDF of this lesson plan and its supporting materials on

Developed by: Laurie Giarratani
Subjects: Social Studies, STEM; leadership, civic engagement, communication, climate science
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Estimated Time:  Each of the activities within the unit could be introduced in 30-minute segments. Additional time for research, practicing facilitation strategies, teaching the activities to others, and iterating on the activities will depend on the opportunities in your setting. This lesson plan was originally used for a six-week internship where high school students had multiple opportunities to conduct investigations and to facilitate the activities with visitors at the museum, in summer camps and in neighborhood learning settings.
About This Lesson Plan:
This unit was developed for a summer career development internship for high school students. It takes climate change education resources developed for use in a museum setting by the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP), and asks students to apply them to examine their own neighborhoods.  During the internship, students completed the investigations and then facilitated the activities in a variety of community settings. They used a design process to document their own learning about climate science, and get feedback that they used to improve the activities and build their skills as facilitators.  CUSP is a network of museum educators, climate scientists, learning scientists and community organizations dedicated to improving local understanding of and engagement with climate change issues.

About Carnegie Museum of Natural History:
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of artifacts, objects, and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures.
Pro Tips:
This project’s activities could serve as a blueprint for students to conduct original research and field work in their own community, including a follow-up presentation to present their findings. This could be used for a study of climate change or other local environmental or ecological concerns relevant to your students and your community. Explore the CUSP Pittsburgh kits on the CUSP site to learn more.