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COVID and Climate Curriculum

Understanding Climate Change

Secondary

Description

In this guided inquiry, students explore the relationship between coronavirus and climate change. Four lessons guide students in a thorough and introspective investigation of the relationship between COVID-19 and the climate crisis with the goal of moving students from anxiety to understanding and empowerment. The design allows students to conduct this inquiry in the classroom or at home. Each lesson is delivered as a power point that guides students through the inquiry with questions, activities and links to video and other sources of information.

Lesson One: Students complete a number of activities supported by video and current case studies to learn where corona viruses like COVID-19 come from and why they can spread so quickly. Topics covered include the nature of viruses, epidemics vs pandemics, immunity, vaccination and the ‘new normal’. Students will consider complex issues related to the current pandemic including food markets, our treatment of animals and globalization.

Lesson Two: Through readings (provided) and reflection activities, students explore the effects of global warming, including its impact on the spread of disease. They consider why we are not responding to the climate crisis with the same urgency as the pandemic and reflect on their feelings of concern, possible anxiety or even fear regarding COVID-19.  Topics covered include global warming, climate action, viral spillover, epidemiology and mindfulness.

Lesson Three:  Through readings, short videos, case studies and reflection activities, students investigate the profound social inequalities and injustices COVID 19 and Climate Change have revealed and why those most heavily impacted by environmental injustice are more likely to victims of the pandemic. Topics include social justice, climate justice, globalization, quality of life and empathy.

Lesson Four: Through readings, videos, case studies and reflection activities students consider what we have learned from the pandemic that can bring about a healthier future for people and the planet.  This includes examining their own communities for examples and inspiration and committing to personal action. Topics covered include the Gaia hypothesis, regeneration, interconnectedness, systems thinking, responsibility and action.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The resource does not teach skills

Strengths

  • The resource addresses important challenges
  • The lessons and activities demonstrate these are complex issues
  • The goal of the resource is to inform and empower
  • The lessons encourage systems thinking
  • The resource is thorough and easy to use
  • Students will find the content relevant to their lives and the lessons engaging
  • The resource provides students with immediate access to information to support their inquiry

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The resource will be of greatest interest to teachers of Science (Environmental Science, Biology) Social Studies (Geography, World Issues, Social Justice) and Health (Disease, Epidemiology).  It is especially well-designed and suited for 'at-home learning'. 

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Social justice issues are interconnected.
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 11
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120:Interdependence
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: The Atmosphere and the Environment
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 11
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 20-4:Disease Defense and Human Health
        • Science 24: Disease Defense and Human Health
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 11
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 24:Disease Defence and Human Health
  • Ontario
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Human Health and the Environment
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Health and the Environment
    • Grade 12
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Ecosystems and Human Activity
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep) : Ecological Systems: Interactions and Interdependence
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.): Interactions and Interdependence: Globalization
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis(Univ. Prep.): Interactions and Interdependence: Globalization
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Univ./College Prep.) Pathogens and Disease
        • Science (Univ./College Prep.) Science and Public Health Issues
        • Science (Workplace Preparation): Disease and Its Prevention
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) Addressing Equity and Social Justice Issues
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 631A Global Issues: What are the issues?
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science and the Environment: The Earth and Space
    • Grade 11
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health Science 20: Student-Directed Study
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Justice: Social justice issues are interconnected.
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Interdependence
  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Environmental Justice
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The student inquiry is supported by resources that reflect different points of view. Other than the premise that climate change contributes to the spread of COVID and other viral diseases there is no bias towards any one point of view.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

The interplay of environment and society provides the context for the inquiry. Systems thinking is explicitly taught and practiced.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good

The questions guiding the student investigations and reflections are designed to illustrate the complexity of the issues discussed.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Students identify personal actions they can take to address local and global problems raised in their inquiry.  While they are encouraged to implement action, it is not a requirement.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

Students are provided with specific opportunities to reflect and express their attitudes, understanding and feelings about issues raised in each of the four lessons.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Through their investigations of the pandemic and the climate crisis, students will learn that empathy and support for each other are more important than ever, especially for those living countries and communities most impacted by both.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

Students will come to understand the interconnections that characterize all species and appreciate that keeping our planet healthy is the only way to secure our own future.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

In the reflection exercises students are asked to identify local examples and circumstances related to different themes of the inquiry.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

The resource does a good job in presenting a timeline for both the climate crisis and current pandemic.  While much of the investigation focuses on the current situation, the goal of empowering students with the understanding and optimism to respond to these challenges is achieved.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The lessons are designed to illustrate that these are very complex issues for which there are no easy or single solutions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

The resource features content from the sciences and social studies.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The resource provides for a guided inquiry.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

While lessons feature different types of activities, some learners will struggle with the emphasis on reading and responding.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Poor/Not considered

Although the content and experiences described are playing out in real time, there is little offered in the way of hands-on learning or direct experience.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered

The resource is designed to have students working independently.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

While the lessons and activities provide opportunities for assessment, tools and direction are not included.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

The resource is designed to have students working independently.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

Current and engaging case studies are a featured prominently to support students in their inquiry.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

This is definitely a guided inquiry.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.