In this set of activities, students learn about impacts of drought through news videos of communities facing serious water shortages, analyze drought data and models, and research and evaluate potential solutions. This lesson works well as a component within a larger unit on climate change, its impacts, and ways to address the resulting issues.

Students focus on the three interconnected choices global society faces as Earth's climate continues to changeâsuffer, adapt, and mitigateâto analyze and predict current and future impacts to Earth's systems. Using videos excerpted from NOVA: Decoding the Weather Machine, students explore ways that adaptation and mitigation strategies can work at various levels to minimize suffering and then develop an evidence-based action plan for their local community.

Through learning activities, students learn how weather over a long period of time describes climate, explore how sea level rise can affect coastal communities and environments, and describe how humans are contributing to climate change and how we can take action to solve this problem.

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.