Teaching the Explore

Weather and climate

Ask pupils whether they understand the differences between weather and climate. The video in the slide explains these terms and their differences.

Elicit a definition of weather and climate. Answers are on the teaching slide, and short definitions are below.

Weather describes the short-term conditions in a specific place. Rain, snow, wind, hurricanes, tornadoes — these are all weather events.

Climate describes the average weather conditions that are expected in a region at a particular time of year. A region’s climate is determined by observing its weather over a period of many years—generally 30 years or more.

What is climate change?

Display an image of the Earth. Challenge pupils to brainstorm anything they know about climate change or words related to climate change. pupils to initially think independently, then share ideas with a partner/group.

Collect and record pupils’ ideas and any questions they have about climate change.

Show images of climate change from the slides. How do these images make pupils feel? What do they think caused the situation in these images?

Climate change is a global threat that is already having an impact on millions of people around the world. Use information on the slides and the link to the Nasa Climate Kids site to explore climate change in more detail.

Establish that global climate change refers to the average long-term changes over the entire Earth. These include warming temperatures and changes in precipitation, as well as the effects of Earth’s warming, such as:

  • Rising sea levels.
  • Shrinking mountain glaciers.
  • Ice melting more quickly than usual in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic.
  • Changes in flower and plant blooming times.

Main task

Activity 1: What is climate change?

Pupils use a range of websites and books to find out more about what climate change is and begin to identify some causes of climate change. They will use their research to prepare and present a short presentation or teaching resource about climate change and its effects on the Earth.

Useful websites:

Pupils to present their information on climate change in a teaching resource for their peers. This should take the form of an infographic. They must include:

  • What is the difference between weather and climate?
  • What is climate change?
  • How is climate change affecting the earth? Include information about typhoons, hurricanes, rising sea levels, tsunamis, droughts and melting glaciers.
  • What impact does climate change have on different communities?

Pupils peer assess (What went well? / Even better if … ) and offer feedback.

Activity 2: How are we, as humans, affecting our planet?

Focus on islands. Islands face many environmental threats. Use pages 8–9 of Amazing Islands to identify some environmental threats. First focus on the rising sea level, which is a result of climate change. Use the Climate Kids site to explore how coastal areas around the world would be affected by rising sea levels.

Explore three themes: Invasive species, rising sea levels and tourist pollution.

Develop understanding of other climate change threats to the planet using other websites and information books.

Assess, reflect, connect

Pupils should answer the following questions

  1. What is the difference between weather and climate?
  2. What is climate change?
  3. Describe three ways in which climate change is impacting the earth
  4. How are islands impacted by climate change?