Featured Resources

NOAA Climate Stewards Education Project Webinar
October 5, 2015

Dr. Alexander E. “Sandy” MacDonald is the featured speaker for our October webinar. Dr. MacDonald is Director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, and the Chief Science Advisor for NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.  Dr. Alexander will discuss a national energy simulator developed by a team at NOAA that uses highly detailed weather and electric load data to determine the role that various energy sources could play in the coming decades.

The Guiding Principle helps to provide the context for how we can minimize impacts, build resilient communities, and protect the ecosystems that sustain us. All of the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy are framed by this Guiding Principle.

This is a sequence of 5 classroom activities focusing on the El NiÃo climate variability. The activities increase in complexity and student-directedness. The focus of the activities is on accessing and manipulating real data to help students understand El NiÃo as an interaction of Earth systems.

This activity supports educators in the use of the activities that accompany the GLOBE Program's Earth System Poster 'Exploring Connections in Year 2007'. Students identify global patterns and connections in environmental data that include soil moisture, insolation, surface temperature, cloud fraction, precipitation, world topography/bathymetry, aerosol optical thickness, and biosphere (from different times of the year) with the goal of recognizing patterns and trends in global data sets.

Teaching Climate Literacy

  • Climate and energy are complex topics. There are many ways to approach climate and energy depending on the grade level, course topics and instructional method.

Professional Development


Can the World's Carbon Dioxide be Stopped Short of Doubling?

Dr. Alexander E. “Sandy” MacDonald is the featured speaker for our October webinar. Dr. MacDonald is...

Educational Resources

In this activity, students learn the basics of photosynthesis and respiration within the carbon cycle. Students are assigned to be different atoms or energy and interact with each other by linking together to form molecules and absorb or release energy.

In this activity, students explore the basic living requirements of algae (phytoplankton)through hands-on experience and an interactive game. Students investigate what algal biofuels are, how they are made, where they can grow, and, most importantly, why this topic should be investigated.

This activity is part of the Antarctica's Climate Secrets flexhibit. Students learn about and create models of glaciers and ice sheets, ice shelves, icebergs and sea ice.

In this activity, students estimate the drop in sea level during glacial maxima, when ice and snow in high latitudes and altitudes resulted in lower sea levels.

In this activity, students compare carbon dioxide (CO2) data from Mauna Loa Observatory, Barrow (Alaska), and the South Pole over the past 40 years to help them better understand what controls atmospheric carbon dioxide. This activity makes extensive use of Excel.

This interactive activity, in applet form, guides students through the motion of the sun and how they relate to seasons.

This short video is an excerpt from the longer video Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification, produced by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). This short version summarizes the science of ocean acidification as well as the social implications.

Video introduces wind energy research at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and provides an overview of the NREL Wind Technology Center near Boulder, Colorado.

This video highlights specific climate change-related phenomena that are threatening the flora and fauna of Yellowstone National Park.

This animation shows the warming of Earth's surface temperature from 1870-2100 based on results from the NCAR Community Climate System Model.

These five short videos are an introduction to the pros and cons of energy issues, including cost, choices, efficiency, environmental impact, and scale. The videos are segments of a feature documentary entitled, Switch: Discover the Future of Energy.

This collection of photos from the NASA Climate website features images related to global change. Not all images show change caused directly by climate change and energy use, and descriptive captions indicate causes for change in most of the images.

This interactive/applet allows the user to explore the potential increase in carbon emissions over the next 50 years, subject to modifications made by the user in various technologies that impact carbon output. Part of the Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change module.

This visualization shows the molecular interaction of infrared radiation with various gases in the atmosphere. Focus is on the interaction with C02 molecules and resultant warming of the troposphere.

This online calculator converts from one energy unit to another - from gallons to British thermal units (Btu), kilowatt/hours to megajoules, short tons to metric tons.

This is a series of NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images taken over a 10 year period, 2000-2010, showing the extent of deforestation in the State of Rondonia in western Brazil over that period of time.

This visualization presents a collection of sea ice data taken over a period of 34 years. Selected data can be animated to show changes in sea ice extent over time. Data is added by the National Snow and Ice Data Center as it becomes available.

An interactive simulation that allows the user to adjust mountain snowfall and temperature to see the glacier grow and shrink in response.

In this short but effective demonstration/experiment, students investigate how thermal expansion of water might affect sea level.

This is a long-term inquiry activity in which students investigate locations they believe harbor cellulose-digesting microbes, collect samples, isolate them on selective media, and screen them for cellulase activity. These novel microbes may be useful for the production of cellulosic ethanol.

This is a hands-on inquiry activity using zip-lock plastic bags that allows students to observe the process of fermentation and the challenge of producing ethanol from cellulosic sources. Students are asked to predict outcomes and check their observations with their predictions.

This hands-on activity introduces students to the process of fermenting different carbohydrate sources into ethanol. Teachers demonstrate yeasts' inability to metabolize certain food sources.

In this activity, students conduct a life cycle assessment of energy used and produced in ethanol production, and a life cycle assessment of carbon dioxide used and produced in ethanol production.

This is a short experiment to demonstrate the concept of thermal expansion of water when heated, as an analogy to thermal expansion of oceans due to global warming.