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.

Through this set of lessons, students learn about the impacts of water shortages due to drought, make connections to climate patterns, and explore community resiliency solutions. The lessons engage students in evaluating solutions for a particular case study community. Students will need to do additional research on solutions, but by the end of the lesson, students will be able to articulate how drought, although a localized problem, has far-reaching impacts, and to suggest solutions to a problem that is projected to intensify as the climate continues to change.

This activity has students examine the misconception that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. Students explore temperature data and report their conclusions to the class. Then students examine techniques of science denial and examine a claim about scientific consensus.

Using real data from NASA's GRACE satellites, students will track water mass changes in the U.S., data that measures changes in ice, surface and especially groundwater. The background information includes an animated video about where water exists and how it moves around Earth, as well as short video clips to introduce the GRACE mission and explain how satellites collect data. Students will estimate water resources using heat-map data, create a line graph for a specific location, then assess trends and discuss implications.

This activity illustrates the importance of water resources and how changes in climate are closely linked to changes in water resources. The activity could fit into many parts of a science curriculum, for example a unit on water could be connected to climate change.