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Part II: A Macro Plan for Climate Change

Subjects:

Science, Social Studies  

Grades:

11, 12  

Title – Environment Unit Part II:
A Macro Plan for Climate Change
By – Jay Kilby
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Science
Grade Level – 11-12

Contents:

      This is a four-part

environmental unit


Objectives:

  • Identify and explain realistic target reductions in carbon emissions set by climate scientists for avoiding disastrous effects from climate change by mid-century.
  • Identify and explain options that could be implemented in order to achieve these target reductions.
  • Explain what role government could play in stimulating innovations that could allow us to achieve these target reductions.
  • Evaluate which options for achieving these target reductions are best and why.

Time Requirements:

    Approximately 2 Instructional Hours

Skills Addressed:

  • Analyzing complex concepts
  • Note-taking
  • Critical thinking

Assessment:

  • Formative Assessment:
      Students will work in groups to create and present a plan identifying which of several options will best allow us to meet realistic target goals for reducing carbon emissions by mid-century.
  • Summative Assessment: Multiple choice test
      at end of unit.

Resources:

Key Terms:

  • cap and trade
  • carbon tax
  • energy efficiency
  • carbon capture and storage
  • renewable energy
  • bio-fuels
  • biostorage

Instructional Activities:

  1. Students take notes on the first 3 slides of the PowerPoint: Solutions to Climate Change. Pass out handout: 20 E.C.E. (a 2-page excerpt from Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman). Have students read it and then discuss it with them briefly. Then show the remainder of the PowerPoint.
  2. Assist students with Wedges Worksheet homework assigned last class.
  3. Students take out handout that they have completed as homework: Stabilization Wedges: A Concept and Game (created by the Princeton University Environmental Institute). Divide them into groups of four to six in order to complete a common Wedge Worksheet.
  4. Groups present their plans to the class. Invite other students to comment on feasibility, costs, and challenges of each plan presented.

Big Picture Questions: What, according to climate scientists, are options that would enable us to avert disastrous consequences of climate change? Which of these options is best, and why? Main Points:

According to climate scientists, significant innovations and changes in behavior will be needed in order to avert disastrous consequences of climate change, requiring us to make difficult choices.
Activity #1: PowerPoint 35 minutes
  • Students take notes on the first 3 slides of the PowerPoint: Solutions to Climate Change.
  • Pass out handout: 20 E.C.E. (a 2-page excerpt from Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman). Have students read it and then discuss it with them briefly. Then show the remainder of the PowerPoint.
  • Check for understanding, particularly regarding the main point that government can take steps to create incentives for businesses to become more innovative in areas that affect the public interest in curbing climate change.
Activity #2: Stabilization Wedges 15 minutes
  • Students take out their handout: Stabilization Wedges: A Concept and Game (created by the Princeton University Environmental Institute).
  • This is a complex project, and it is likely that some students may need assistance with understanding and completing it prior to moving on to the next activity.
Activity #3: Wedge Worksheets 20 minutes
  • You may wish to record a grade on their individual Wedge Worksheet assignments as they are working with them in groups.
  • Divide them into groups of 4-6. Pass out another Wedge Worksheet page to each group.
  • Each group must work together, comparing and discussing their individual Wedge Worksheets in order to complete this common group Wedge Worksheet and present them to the class.
Activity #4: Presenting Plan 25 minutes
  • Each group presents the plan represented by their Wedge Worksheet.
  • Each group presents the plan represented by their Wedge Worksheet.
  • Invite other students to comment on feasibility, costs, and challenges of each plan presented.

Accommodations:

  • During the group activity, have IEP, ELL, and struggling students work with partners who can help them with these complex concepts.
  • You may wish to give these students the option of completing and turning in their individual Wedge Worksheets for homework after the presentations so that they do not have to rely on the reading alone in order to complete the homework.

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