Resources for Educators

IN CCCIA Printable Lessons

Bring the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment into your classroom using these free printable lessons developed by Purdue professor Dan Shepardson in collaboration with the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. These materials are best suited for grades 6-12.

Indiana-specific climate lessons:

carbon cycle diagram

"I teach at a local school and have been looking at curriculum options that will give 8th graders the opportunity to research past temperatures and explore climate change using real data. Textbook curriculum has nothing on this, so I have been scouring the internet. I am thrilled to have found IN CCIA's easy to use information & website. It gives direct data for Indiana, so my students have a vested interest."

-- Maribeth Holland, science teacher

Teaching Climate Change

What Educators Should Know and Can Do

Teaching about climate change is challenging, yet essential. In a recent article published in American Educator, Purdue professors Daniel Shepardson and Andrew Hirsch outline five critical topics that students should learn and that every adult should understand.

Below we've summarized these five topics, but we encourage you to check out their (free) article in full. In it, Shepardson and Hirsch review students' understanding of climate change and barriers to teaching it, they elaborate on key concepts, and they provide pedagogical suggestions for integrating these concepts into classroom learning.

Summary: Five Critical Topics

Topic 1

Weather, Climate, and Climate Change

Students need to understand the relationship between weather and climate. Weather is a snapshot of day-to-day conditions at a location. Climate is the long-term average of weather conditions over 30 years or more. Knowing how climate data are generated and what those data actually represent are essential to understanding the concepts of climate variability and climate change.

Topic 2
Topic 3
Topic 4
Topic 5
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BONUS: Listen to Shepardson & Hirsch talk about strategies for teaching climate change on the Class Dismissed podcast (Episode 140).

New Resources from Purdue Extension

A new series from Purdue Extension aims to help community and regional planners understand and prepare for climate change.

Access resources from the Purdue University Extension Education Store (keyword: climate change).

What Can I Do About Climate Change?

Lasting climate solutions will require action on a global scale, but there are many ways that individuals can help pave the way for bigger change. We’ve summarized four practical tips for how YOU can address climate change into a printable poster (right). You can also download each individual "tip card" below.

External Links

The Dynamics of Climate Toolkit was developed at Purdue University to help educators understand both the science of climate and climate change and the pedagogy for effectively teaching it. The toolkit includes curriculum for an 8-hour training workshop, with activities designed to engage participants in analyzing and interpreting climate data sets and visualizations in a collaborative setting. The workshop also addresses major misconceptions students and adults hold about climate, and climate change.

Companion activities for conceptualizing climate and climate change:

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Developed by 4-H educator and Purdue professor Natalie Carroll, this 3-part series and facilitator’s guide provides hands-on and expert-reviewed material for grades 3-12. Students will first learn basic weather words and ideas, and the difference between weather and climate. Additional topics explore how the weather works, weather measurements, and natural hazards before addressing more complex topics such as energy balance, natural and human influences on the climate, and climate change.

Climate + Youth

Student and youth organizer Iris O'Donnell Bellisario explains why she's passionate about fighting climate change and the unique ways she's spreading awareness about this important topic.