Increasing natural science literacy
through engaging,
place-based education
Asombro Institute for Science Education
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New Mexico Climate Champions

A 5th – 12th Grade Climate Change Education and Action Project

New Mexico Climate Champions was developed by the Asombro Institute for Science Education with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Education Grant Program.

Asombro staff created two, 10-hour modules designed for use with 5th -12th grade students in classrooms or informal learning settings (e.g., after school programs, summer camps). One module covers climate change and energy issues in New Mexico. The other module covers climate change and water issues in New Mexico. All activities are aligned to Common Core State Standards, New Mexico Science Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.

First, students complete five hours of hands-on activities about climate change and energy or water. Then, students apply their knowledge to plan action projects that they implement in their school or community. Students will present stewardship projects at the NM Climate Champions Summit on January 15, 2018.

Energy Module

Hour 1 - Insulating You, Insulating Earth: To model the enhanced greenhouse effect, students conduct an experiment using their own thermal energy, thermometers, towels, and space blankets. Students learn how increased CO2 in the atmosphere is creating a global warming effect. Note: This is the first activity in both the energy and water modules.


Hour 2 - Energy Resources and Use: To demonstrate the sustainability of renewable energy as an alternative to non-renewable energy, students use green and black beads to track the available energy throughout time as energy consumption increases.


Hour 3 - Energy Audit: Students investigate the relationship between energy use and climate change by conducting an energy audit of common household appliances. They calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that could be kept out of the atmosphere by reducing energy use.


Hour 4 - Energy Data Jam: Students identify trends in New Mexico energy consumption data and then develop and present a creative project to communicate the data to nonscientists.


Hour 5 - Solar Energy: Students play the role of solar engineers as they test two factors that can affect solar panel efficiency: air temperature and angle of sunlight. They report their findings as if they were writing a user’s manual.


Hours 6 – 10 - Action Project Planning: Students complete a detailed project planning guide that includes: deciding on a project, developing a goal, creating a plan, executing their plan, and evaluating the effectiveness of their project. Using an Asombro-developed action project as an example, students are walked through the necessary steps to turn their climate change knowledge into a stewardship action plan. Note: Action project planning and implementation is the final half of both the energy module and the water module.


Water Module

Hour 1 - Insulating You, Insulating Earth: To model the enhanced greenhouse effect, students conduct an experiment using their own thermal energy, thermometers, towels, and space blankets. Students learn how increased CO2 in the atmosphere is creating a global warming effect. Note: This is the first activity in both the energy and water modules.


Hour 2 - Streams and Steam: Students play a Chutes-and-Ladders-style board game to understand the effects of climate change on the water cycle. Students identify large-scale impacts of climate change and brainstorm actions to mitigate these effects.


Hour 3 - Ready Set Grow: Students play the role of water-intensive and drought-tolerant plants to understand the impacts of climate change on water and primary producers. Students model the effects of increased CO2 and decreased water availability on plants.


Hour 4 - Climate Data Jam: Students identify trends in predicted temperature and precipitation changes in several New Mexico counties and then develop and present a creative project to communicate the data to nonscientists.


Hour 5 - Water Conservation: Students calculate their weekly water use and compare it to the average American. They explore three models of water conservation (land contouring, rooftop rainwater harvesting, and greywater recycling) while collecting quantitative data on the amount of water conserved.


Hours 6 – 10 - Action Project Planning: Students complete a detailed project planning guide that includes: deciding on a project, developing a goal, creating a plan, executing their plan, and evaluating the effectiveness of their project. Using an Asombro-developed action project as an example, students are walked through the necessary steps to turn their climate change knowledge into a stewardship action plan. Note: Action project planning and implementation is the final half of both the energy module and the water module.


Standards



 
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