New Mexico Climate Champions

New Mexico Climate Champions

 

A 5th – 8th Grade Climate Change Education and Action Project

 

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

 

The project includes two, 10-hour modules designed for use with 5th – 8th grade students in classrooms or informal learning settings (e.g., after school programs, summer camps). One module covers climate change and water issues in New Mexico. The other module covers climate change and energy issues in New Mexico (see activity descriptions below). All activities are aligned to Common Core State Standards and all three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.

 

 

Water Module

 

Hour 1 – Climate Data Jam

 

Students are introduced to the phenomenon under investigation in the water module by identifying trends in predicted temperature and precipitation changes in several New Mexico counties and designing creative projects to communicate the data trends to nonscientists.

 

 

 

Hour 2 – Ready, Set, Grow

 

Students play the roles of water-intensive and drought-tolerant plants to understand the effect of the phenomenon they observed in Climate Data Jam on living and nonliving parts of the system. They learn about a “mystery resource” that is increasing throughout the game.

 

 

 

 

 

Hour 3 – Insulating You, Insulating Earth

 

To explore the impact of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, students model the greenhouse effect using their own thermal energy, thermometers, towels, and Mylar blankets. They expand upon their understanding of CO2, the “mystery resource” they saw in Ready Set Grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hour 4 – Streams and Steam

 

Students play a Chutes-and-Ladders-style board game to understand the effects of climate change on the water cycle. Through the game, students connect how the human enhanced greenhouse effect alters temperatures and precipitation patterns in New Mexico.

 

 

 

 

Hour 5 – Water Conservation

 

This activity elaborates on one proposed response to climate change: water conservation. Students calculate their weekly water use, explore two models of water conservation (land contouring and rooftop rainwater harvesting), and design a solution that reduces their water consumption by 25%. Students are introduced to the problem of the water module: Due to increased temperatures, increased variability in precipitation patterns, and increasing population in New Mexico, it is anticipated that water availability for domestic, commercial, and agricultural use will decline.

 

Educator Guide

 

 

Handout

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hours 6 – 10 – Engineering Projects

 

Students work in groups to plan and implement an engineering project in their school and/or community to help achieve solutions related to human-caused climate change and the problem presented above.

 

Note: Project planning and implementation is the final half of both the energy module and the water module.

 

Educator Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Module

 

Hour 1 – Insulating You, Insulating Earth

 

Students are introduced to the phenomenon of the energy module: human behavior is changing Earth’s atmosphere and affecting the climate. To model how a change in atmosphere affects climate, students conduct an experiment using their own thermal energy, thermometers, towels, and Mylar blankets. Students learn how increased CO2 in the atmosphere is creating a global warming effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hour 2 – Energy Audit

 

Students connect the relationship between energy use and climate change by conducting an energy audit of common household appliances. They calculate the amount of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere through their use of these household appliances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hour 3 – Energy Resources and Use

 

To demonstrate the sustainability of renewable energy as an alternative to non-renewable energy, students will use green and orange beads to track the available energy throughout time as energy consumption increases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hour 4 – Energy Data Jam

 

Students identify trends in New Mexico energy consumption data and develop a creative project to communicate the data to nonscientists. They will apply their understanding of energy production, energy use, and global climate change to better understand energy issues in New Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hour 5 – Solar Energy

 

This activity transitions students into thinking about solutions. They are introduced to the problem of the energy module: due to human production and use of energy, Earth’s climate is changing, creating social, economic, and environmental problems. Students play the role of solar engineers as they test two factors that can affect solar panel efficiency: air temperature and angle of sunlight.

 

Educator Guide

 

 

Handout Answer Key

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hours 6 – 10 – Engineering Projects

 

Students work in groups to plan and implement an engineering project in their school and/or community to help achieve solutions related to human-caused climate change and the problem presented above.

 

Note: Project planning and implementation is the final half of both the energy module and the water module.

 

Educator Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Resources and Standards

 

Resource List