Introduction to Climate Systems provides an excellent overview of topics including climate zones, the work of climatologists, and short-term and long-term climate change. Explore 12 pages of information, graphs, visuals and videos that will enrich your understanding of climate science.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains an up-to-date website on current climate topics. For a review of climate basics, NOAA and the National Weather Service provide concise information on Climate vs. Weather and Climate Zones. From the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) comes a great resource for understanding climate change. Learn what causes climate change, the effects of global change, and how climatologists study our atmosphere and predict the future through scientific research and climate models.
Visit NASA's Global Climate site, dedicated to climate news and research that includes multimedia galleries, maps and interactives, as well as real-time data from NASA satellites. Scroll down to the "What Is Climate Change?" and "Explore" sections on the page for fascinating facts and images.
"Climate Change Stories" from National Geographic utilizes amazing photographs and scientific studies to report on current climate news.
Resources for Educators
The Center for Science Education, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has a wealth of resources for educators. Take a look at their Climate page for topics including Global vs. Regional Climate, El Niño, and the Greenhouse Effect. A Climate Change Perspective offers readings and interactives to use with middle school students. You'll also find short videos for all grade levels on paleoclimates, sea ice, sea levels, ice cores, coral reefs, and more. In addition, NCAR has links to some great interactives and games and simulations for classroom use.
Windows To The Universe, from the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is a great climate resource available in both English and Spanish. Take a look at the extensive menu of topics! This resource can be customized by Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Levels (elementary, middle school, and high school.)
CLEAN (Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network) is a remarkable collection of standards-aligned climate resources that have been reviewed by scientists for accuracy and by educators for pedagogic effectiveness. The collection is easily searched by grade level (3-5, 6-8, 9-12).
Changing Climate, from National Geographic, is an educator's guide to teaching climate science in grades 3-8. The guide is designed to support teachers and provide them with the necessary background to feel competent in teaching climate literacy. It includes numerous education features to help connect the content to classroom practice.
NCAR's Center For Science Education offers an excellent collection of climate activities and lessons for your classroom. Be sure to check out "Climate Postcards," "Glaciers Then and Now," "Greenhouse Gas Game," "Looking Into Surface Albedo," and more.
The standards-aligned collection of climate lessons and activities from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is designed for grades K-12. Even first-graders will be fascinated by the "Global Warming Demonstration," while older students will be engaged by the sea-level and temperature explorations that utilize NASA satellite data.
Windows to the Universe, the website of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, has complete lesson plans on Climate and Global Change for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers. Take a look at "Carbon Dioxide: Sources and Sinks," "Changing Planet: Melting Glaciers," "Blooming Thermometers," and many more.
The EPA has a compilation of hands-on climate lesson plans for educators. Students will analyze tree rings and ice cores to learn about paleoclimates, and study the effect of increased CO2 levels on oceans and coral reefs.
Learning about life in different climate zones is usually appealing to younger students. Take a look at these lesson plans about how polar bears and desert animals have adapted to the climate where they live. Climate Postcards is a fun lesson about climate zones and biomes designed for 3rd grade.
These Powerpoints on climate topics may be helpful for middle school teachers. For younger students, you might consider the USGS storybook called "The Perils of Polina" about the risks of global warning for polar animals, or this animation on how planting trees can help fight climate change.
PBS Learning Media
Each of these standards-aligned resources comes with a lesson plan, video, teaching tips, student handout, and/or background material.
The Climate Literacy collection, for teachers of grades 3-12, brings together extensive resources including documents, videos, lesson plans and interactives.
Clue Into Climate is a compilation of lessons and videos for middle-school classrooms. Learn about climate science, the causes and effects of climate change, and how scientists work to understand climate processes.
Antarctica's Climate Secrets, a collection for middle-school classrooms, features scientific research into Antarctica's past and future climate conditions.
Polar Lab is an interactive learning tool that combines interviews with scientists, immersive 360 environments, and games that send students on quests to increase understanding of how the poles are key to understanding Earth's climate.