This unit allows students to investigate past changes in Earth's climate. Students first explore relationships in climate data such as temperature, solar radiation, carbon dioxide, and biodiversity. They then investigate solar radiation in more depth to learn about changes over time such as seasonal shifts. Students then learn about mechanisms for exploring past changes in Earth's climate such as ice cores, tree rings, fossil records, etc. Finally, students tie all these together by considering the feedbacks throughout the Earth system and reviewing an article on a past mass extinction event.

This learning activity is a climate change musical for K-12, youth groups or faith organizations. Shine weaves together climate science and performance art into a fun and powerful story, which spans 300 million years of geological time to convey how humanity, energy, and climate are interrelated.

Students model the effect of greenhouse gases on Earth's atmosphere. They find that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are uniquely shaped to catch and pass on infrared radiation, and so they are responsible for the warmth we enjoy on Earth. The children discuss how the addition of greenhouse gases by human activities leads to further warming and what steps we can take to slow it.