Leg Overview

This leg focuses on the differences between weather and climate. It highlights how the rate of climate change has been influenced and how renewable natural resources, such as wind energy, can reduce our impact on climate change. 

Key Themes and Guiding Questions:

  • Themes:
    • Weather vs Climate
    • Renewable vs Nonrenewable 
  • Guiding questions:
    • What is the difference between weather and climate?
    • What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources?
    • What is influencing the rate of climate change?

Supplemental Activities:

  • The Rise of Renewable Energy Resources -  Students will identify the difference between renewable vs nonrenewable resources they use in their lives. They will then play a game to conduct a simulation of resource usage.(Upper Elementary, Middle School)
  • What's in your Habitat? - Students will create a model of a habitat that incorporates what resources are available and discuss how they can harvest those resources into energy. (Upper Elementary, Middle School)
  • Weather vs Climate - This is a real-world science lesson in which students collect local weather data and analyze given climate patterns in their area to distinguish how weather and climate are different. Weather and Climate - What's the Difference? (Middle School, High School).  
  • How Big is your (Carbon) Footprint? - Use this simple tool (Calculator) from EPA to have students calculate their carbon footprint. Compare students' answers and have a friendly and engaging challenge to see which class can lower their carbon footprint in a certain time frame. (Upper Elementary, Middle School). 

Standards Connections:

  • 5-PS3 - Energy
  • 5-LS2 - Cycles of matter and energy transfer in ecosystems
  • 5-ESS2 - Earth's Systems
  • 5-ESS3 - Earth and human activity
  • 3-5-ETS1 - Engineering design
  • 5.G.A.2 - Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation. 

Additional Resources:

  • Weather - The state of the atmosphere during a short period of time, such as hot or cold, calm or stormy, wet or dry. 
  • Climate - The average weather pattern in a given place over many years. 
  • Nonrenewable vs Renewable - Nonrenewable means that there is a finite amount of a resource, meaning once we run out of it, we can never get it back. Renewable means that the resource can be replenished and won't ever be used up.
  • Biofuels lesson - Sustainability (Elementary)
  • Biofuels lesson - Enhanced Greenhouse Effect (Middle School)
  • What's the difference between weather and climate? - This PDF helps explain the difference.
  • NASA's Kids Climate offers many activities focused on climate science
  • Climate Time Machine lets students see the world at different times and  how climate change will impact the planet.
  • EPA's "Student Guide to Climate Change" offers insight into what's happening with climate change and what students can do to help.

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