Lesson Plans 2015

Global Challenges: Climate Change and Food Security

2015 PIER Institute • July 6-10

Elementary Lessons

Happy Feet and Madagascar: Using Children’s Films to Teach the Tough Stuff: An Animated Guide for Teaching About Global Warming and Climate Change by Becca Gregory

This five­part lesson is intended to encourage young students (K­3) to learn about Antarctic marine life and African wildlife and their connections to global ecosystems. Additionally, students will be introduced to the concepts of global warming and climate change. The goal of this lesson is to establish the connections between wildlife, global warming, climate change, and environmental awareness.

Sun, Soil and the Climate by Michael Lewis

This 5th­grade lesson uses STEM to educate students on Climate change and the impact of the sun on soil and the changes land goes through when there is a lack of water.

Middle Grades

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles…or Does it?
An Investigative Look into Global Food Insecurity and Hidden Poverty
by Sarah Stolfi

This lesson is part of a disciplinary unit on global interconnections and environmental changes. Students will analyze how food insecurity can manifest itself at local, regional, and global levels over time.  Students will identify its characteristics and causes, and the challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address this issue.

Planning for the New Normal in Weather Extremes: Getting  Kids to Take the Lead in Beginning Informed Discussions with Parents/Guardians by Anne Wysowski

In this two­period lesson, students will use inquiry to identify and support their concerns related to an extreme weather scenario provided to them by instructor. They will then use these questions to write and produce a three­minute video letter addressed to their parents/guardians communicating the importance of this topic as well as the need for the family to be better prepared as more frequent extreme weather events become part of our normal weather experience in the future.

Geography and Human Settlement (Lesson 1 ­ Water) by Tracy Butterick

Students will gain an understanding for why people settle in certain locations and what geographical features lead to the development of civilizations.  This two day lesson focuses on water (fresh water in particular) as an essential resource.

Climate Change and the Fertile Crescent ­­ Is It Still Fertile? by Anne K. Culhane

The Middle East­­and within it the Fertile Crescent. The Cradle of Civilization. This region gave rise to Middle Eastern civilizations more than 8,000 years ago. Plant and animal domestication, irrigation and new tools launched an agricultural revolution that transformed roaming hunter­gatherers into a socially complex, permanent society.

Consider: But today, is there still a Fertile Crescent? Was a crippling drought from 2009­-2012 in northern Syria a single event or part of pattern? We will explore area climate data and discuss possible effects. 

NOTE:  This lesson includes a lesson plan, a micro­talk, and a video transcript. Download script.

What can YOU do to fight the War Against Global Food Waste? by Leah Nero

One way to combat the growing problem of dwindling food resources is to attack the epidemic of waste in modern industrial countries like the United States. This lesson will introduce students to the ideas of British activist Tristram Stuart, who wants the world to stop throwing away so much good food. Students will then look at how much food is thrown away in their own school and then decide what can be done to improve the situation.

Hunger in an Age of Plenty by Mary Ann Landino

This lesson guides students through the UNICEF ACT student’s magazine that describes the global right to food and nutrition. Malnutrition is a condition that results from having inadequate nutrients for growth and the maintenance of a healthy body. This two part lesson plan addresses several physical challenges that result from malnutrition and reasons that cause the malady of global hunger and the impact of malnutrition. Part one of this lesson provides an analysis of a video depicting a family living in Kenya and the conditions that result from food insecurity. Part two moves from the developing world of hunger issues to hunger and malnutrition in the United States. The lesson leads to students understanding and describing the importance of protecting rights to nutrition on a global level.

Impact of Climate Change on Food Security and Migration (Title in German: Auswirkung von Klimawandel auf Nahrungs(un)sicherheit und Migration) by Annabell Sahr

This foreign language lesson centers on a discussion about climate change between students with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Students will be able to engage in a discussion about climate change, will do an activity calculating their own ecological food­print. Furthermore, students will review materials in German and discuss the consequences of climate change with regards to Africa and immigration to Europe.

Chemical Compounds of Climate Change by Rebecca DiSciacca

Following the introduction of elements and compounds, students will be reminded of the greenhouse effect (taught in 7th grade science). In small groups of 3­4 students, they will be given a chemical compound related to climate change to research. They will become proficient in the chemical and physical properties of the compound and proceed to research its impact in climate change and connect it to combustion or ocean acidification. The groups will conclude their work by informing their classmates about the process and explaining what we can do each day to help limit our personal production of greenhouse gases.

Chemistry of Climate Change Rubric - Sheet 1 (Download)

Current Issues Research Project by Audrey Shalom

This inquiry­ based research project for middle­schoolers allows students to examine current topics in environment, social causes, and physiological issues.

High School Lessons

Students without Borders: Global Climate Change Issues and Food Insecurity by Shahbaa Zaidan

Use of this lesson plan is designed for upper­level research courses and encourages students to use and adopt critical thinking and reasoning skills, which are applicable to different social, national, and global issues. Students should be prompted to choose an issue that they can analyze critically. However, within this particular lesson proposal, students will be asked to highlight critical issues in relation to climate change on a global level. Moreover, students will be engaged with college­level students from Africa (Sudan), and the Middle East (Iraq). This interactive, live engagement will allow students the space and the time to collaborate and share climate change issues by not relying on online sources alone; instead, students are prompted to interact and learn from each other and put into place an “authentic” action plan.

La durabilité agricole en Haïti (Sustainable Agriculture in Haiti) by Brittan Lambrix

In this lesson, students will explore the difficulties Haitian farmers faced in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake and examine the Haitian Peasants’ Movement’s decision to burn seeds donated by Monsanto. The lesson is primarily in French.

Glocal Perspective Matters by Sydney Valerio

Students are intrigued by the changes in climate and food security in their local community and around the world. This glocalized, global and local, examination of the issues will expand their perspective about these challenges. As part of an IEARN, “A Day in the Life”­style project, students will navigate these two pressing issues as they develop the disciplinary literacy skills that are expected of them in the common core argument and thematic writing assignments.

A Short Introduction to Paleoclimatology by Paula Marr

This lesson prepares students to understand climate change by introducing them to the proxies from which the early climatic record is reconstructed.

Only 1?: Each of Us Can Create Change… by Heidi Ahlstrom-Miller

This lesson is planned for a high school English curriculum, grades 9-12, but is set up here for 9th; it also applicable with expansion to a unit or as an introductory exercise at a faculty meeting, if one is planning to galvanize change within a school.

For unit expansion ideas, in particular the change-the-world project idea, please reference “Benchmarks: 9th, 10th, 12th/Change Project”, www.fmtusd.org, “The Change Project Handbook”, of Irvington High School, Irvington, California.

Morocco Country Report by Jason O’Connor

Students will complete a country report on Morocco utilizing a number of reports from the Department of State, CIA country report to get a general overview of Morocco and then write a report that address Morocco’s main challenges in terms of: political, economic, social stability and the impact of climate change on food sustainability in the country. This lesson serves as the one-day introduction to the unit.

Learning from the Past About Sustainability, Lessons from Tokugawa Japan for the Future by Bob Osborne

These lessons are designed to teach from the past what a sustainable society looks like and what we can learn from the Tokugawa Period of Peace in Japanese History that can be applied to adapting to climate change in the future. The lessons were inspired by the Yale Pier Institute on Climate Change and Food Security, the Peabody Museum Exhibit, Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace and the lecture presented by Yale Professor Fabian Drixler at the Peabody Conference.

Rethinking American by Mané Andreasyan

This lesson serves as an introductory activity for students to awaken to the condition of our global environment, with a specific look at America. Drawing inspiration from Horace Miner’s anthropological exploration of Body Rituals Among the Nacirema, I use the semordnilap of “Nacirema” to refer to “American.” The lesson is designed for students to take the roles of researchers and anthropologists from the future, in a quest to discover what caused the disappearance of the Nacirema (American) people. By examining current primary and secondary sources, students will learn about the environmental challenges that plagued the Nacirema people and led to their fictional destruction. The intention behind this lesson is to support student awareness of how our thoughtless actions have contributed to the ill effects of climate change.

Food Security in Africa by Selfa Chew

This lesson plan acquaints students with food security in the African Continent. Students will learn through their research and class activities that food security problems are interlinked with climate change and that the challenge to feed a growing population is also compounded by historical economic and social processes affecting each region in unique ways. They will take the role of a member of a non­profit organization and design a plan to abate food insecurity in Africa. This lesson aligns with Common Core standards. While expanding the students’ knowledge in geography, history, and environmental sciences, this lesson will introduce them to the academic field of Cultural Studies.

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Climate Change, Food Insecurity and Conflict: Making Connections by Carlos Bedoya

This lesson challenges students to think critically about the relationship between climate change, food insecurity, and conflict including the role climate change may or may not play in facilitating both food insecurity and conflict on a global stage.

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Combatting the Effects of Climate Change—How Women Have Been Empowered to be a Part of the Solution and How We Can Join Their Efforts by Jennifer Cucchisi

The overall goal will be for students to see how they as young women in an all­girls school can help to minimize the impact of climate change and educate others on how to do so as well. They will research what organizations help to empower women to make a difference in their communities in relation to difficulties that arise as a result of climate­related factors and learn of the importance of their roles in this topic.

Simulation: Understanding the global effects of climate change by Maria Valentin

Students will engage in a class simulation on the effects of climate change on different communities and the inherent difficulties in arriving at solutions given the multi­layered social, political and economic consequences.

Foreign Investments in Morocco by Barbara Connolly

Secondary Education

Taste the local difference regional food movement of northern Michigan versus the industrial agriculture model of California by Kerri Finlayson

Students will examine the recent drought in California and its connection to the national food system in California as well as the Taste the Local Difference Regional Food Movement in the greater northern Michigan area to evaluate the pros and cons of these two types of food systems (national and regional).

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