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CNN Student News Learning Activity: Climate Change

  • Story Highlights
  • Learn about climate change
  • Examine the role greenhouse gases are thought to play in global warming
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(CNN Student News) -- Students will learn about climate change and the role that greenhouse gases are thought to play in global warming.

Refer students to the Web sites listed, including the CNN Student News video on global warming, to learn about how the global climate is changing, the possible factors responsible for these changes, including greenhouse gases, and the potential problems associated with these changes. Have students work individually or in groups to create graphic organizers that illustrate the potential social, political, economic, legal, environmental and personal effects of climate change.

As students present their findings, ask: What roles might individuals, businesses and international, national, state and local governments play in addressing greenhouse gas emissions? Organize students into small groups, and direct each group to assume the role of one of the following:

  1. International community
  2. U.S. Congress
  3. Bush administration
  4. Representatives from your state
  5. Local city and community representatives
  6. Individual energy consumers
  7. Representatives from the business community, such as energy companies, waste management companies or car manufacturers.

Refer students to the suggested Web sites above and other resources to research the perspectives of their assigned groups on the issues surrounding the climate change debate. Students should also identify what measures, if any, their assigned groups are taking to address greenhouse gas emissions. Then, have groups share their perspectives and plans in a mock climate change summit. Allow each group 3-5 minutes to present its position on the following question:

Should individuals, industries and governments be legally mandated to minimize greenhouse gas emissions? If so, to what extent? If not, why not?

As groups formulate answers to this question, challenge them to consider the economic, social or political implications of their decisions. After each group has presented its arguments, provide time for the class to debate the issues surrounding climate change. Wrap up the activity by discussing the opportunities and challenges facing different groups as they try to address the potential effects of greenhouse emissions.

Curriculum Connections

Science: Grades 9-12

CONTENT STANDARD D: Earth and Space Science

As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of:

  1. Energy in the Earth system
  2. Origin and evolution of the Earth system

CONTENT STANDARD F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of:

  1. Population growth
  2. Natural resources
  3. Environmental quality
  4. Science and technology in local, national and global challenges

The National Science Education Standards are published by the National Academies Press.

Social Studies

Standard III. People, Places and Environments: Students will make informed and critical decisions about the relationship between human beings and their environment.

The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies are published by the National Council for Social Studies.


Standard 4: Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving & Decision Making

B. Students will plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

C. Students will collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Students are published by the International Society for Technology in Education.


Climate change, global warming, fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, ice melt E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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