What is climate change? And how does it affect you and me? There are a lot of great books to help students learn about climate change, how it impacts our lives, and what we can do about it, and they are an excellent starting point for activities and discussion in the classroom. Are you ready to explore our changing climate?
When the World Runs Dry: Earth’s Water Crisis by Nancy F. Castaldo
What would you do if you turned on the faucet and the water was toxic, or no water flowed at all? Readers will explore worldwide water issues and learn from those impacted and making a difference.
Classroom activity: Hold a classroom discussion about water and water shortages. Do you live in an area that has experienced water shortages? What happened? How did you deal with it? In small groups, have students investigate the water supply in their communities. Where does their water originate? How is this water source affected by climate change? What impact has that had on the local community? On families? Students can brainstorm ways to conserve water in their communities. Have each group present their conservation plan to the class.
Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code by Amy Cherrix
Hurricanes and severe storms leave millions of people in danger. Explore how scientists are studying hurricanes in this Scientists in the Field title.
Classroom activity: Extreme weather can be one of the earliest signs of climate change that you will experience. Weather becomes “extreme” when it is far outside what is typical weather for a specific place at a particular time of year. Hurricanes are one type of extreme weather. Have students select a different kind of extreme weather to research. Have them answer the following questions: What areas of the world are most affected by this weather? How does climate change impact this type of extreme weather? What can we do to protect people and property from this type of extreme weather? Have students prepare a disaster plan for their chosen weather event. What should they do to prepare before the weather event? What should they do during and after to stay safe? Share and discuss the disaster plans with the class.
Where Have All The Bees Gone? Pollinators in Crisis by Rebecca E. Hirsch
Hirsch explores bee population decline in her latest STEM title. Readers will explore bee natural history along with ways to slow their decline.
Classroom activity: Bees are just one species threatened by climate change and habitat loss. Every living thing on Earth feels the effects of climate change, including those in the backyard or local park. Have students take a walk outside in their backyard or nearby park. Have them identify the organisms that live there, their habitats, and the typical climate of the area. Research and discuss how climate change will affect the plant and animal habitats? Will the species that live there be able to survive? Have students predict what will happen to the backyard ecosystem in the next 20 years and explain their reasoning.
How To Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other by Naomi Klein with Rebecca Stefoff
Klein explores a trove of things we can all do to help the planet in this age of climate change. It also includes powerful stories of young readers making a difference.
Classroom activity: Have students choose one of the young people profiled in this book or another book to study. How has their chosen activist made a difference to protect the planet and everything that lives on it? Have students work together in small groups to create a short presentation of their chosen activist and their achievements.
Want some more climate activities? Here are a few resources to try:
• NASA Climate Kids, https://climatekids.nasa.gov/menu/make/
• UCAR Center for Science Education, https://scied.ucar.edu/activity
• National Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/discoverclimate/
Hopefully, these activities and resources will get your students excited to learn more about climate change!
Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games. Find her at http://www.carlamooney.com, on Facebook @carlamooneyauthor, or on Twitter @carlawrites.