Resource Type
Completion Time
More than a week
High school and Up
Download, Share, and Remix
Mark Paricio
Related Members
Handouts (attached)
Access to computers/computer lab
General Earth Science
Earth Science
Environmental Studies
Polar Science
General Environmental Studies
General Polar Science
Climate Change


There is so much media hype and public misunderstanding regarding the issue of climate change that advanced students need to be equipped to sort through the information available, find data from appropriately moderated scientific data bases, and learn to support their views with good scientific evidence rather than emotion. This lesson provides the outline for giving students some preliminary background information, having them work with the University of Colorado’s interactive PhET simulation on greenhouse gases. They will watch several selected videos to develop a broader perspective of the issues, use scientific databases to collect evidence, and write a research paper.


Students will learn:

  • to read and annotate a scientific article on greenhouse gases.
  • to search scientific databases for support articles.
  • to write a research paper on greenhouse gases or climate change, including citing their sources correctly.

Lesson Preparation

Read the supplementary information in handout (attached).


See attached handout


Students could research the other topics specific to the effects of climate change on polar regions.


A possible grading rubric is attached in the handout.


Instructions and development of this lesson was a collaboration of Mary Bartholomew, Cheryl Paricio, and Mark Paricio (mparicio [at]


9-12 Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry: Content Standard B: Physical Science: Content Standard D: Earth ad Space Science: Content Standard F: Science In Personal and Social Perspectives: a. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry b. Understandings about scientific inquiry b. Structure and properties of matter f. Interactions of energy and matter a. Energy in the earth system b. Geochemical cycles d. Environmental quality e. Natural and human-induced hazards f. Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

Standards Other

Colorado Science Standards: 21st Century Skills and Readiness Competencies in Science Colorado’s Description of 21st Century Skills: Colorado’s description of 21st century skills is a synthesis of the essential abilities students must apply in our rapidly changing world. Today’s students need a repertoire of knowledge and skills that are more diverse, complex, and integrated than any previous generation. These skills do not stand alone in the standards, but are woven into the evidence outcomes, inquiry questions, and application and are within the nature of science. Science inherently demonstrates each of Colorado’s 21st century skills, as follows: Critical Thinking and Reasoning Science requires students to analyze evidence and draw conclusions based on that evidence. Scientific investigation involves defining problems and designing studies to test hypotheses related to those problems. In science, students must justify and defend scientific explanations and distinguish between correlation and causation. Information Literacy Understanding science requires students to research current ideas about the natural world. Students must be able to distinguish fact from opinion and truth from fantasy. Science requires a degree of skepticism because the ideas of science are subject to change. Science students must be able to understand what constitutes reliable sources of information and how to validate those sources. One key to science is understanding that converging different lines of evidence from multiple sources strengthens a scientific conclusion.

Attachment Size
Download Complete Lesson (PDF - 316 KB)315.79 KB 315.79 KB
Download Handout (Word - 25 KB)25.44 KB 25.44 KB

This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed by this program are those of the PIs and coordinating team, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.