What Affect Does Climate Change Have On A Pond?

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SWBAT learn how scientists and engineers are using renewable energy to understand climate change.

Big Idea

Climate change poses many new challenges and the planet's future is uncertain. Problem-solve to understand how renewable energy could impact the environment.

Bell Ringer - What Is Renewable Energy?

5 minutes

What is renewable energy?

Before viewing the video, I ask students to use their Science Journal, record the date, and write a title in their journal. I ask students to focus on the question "What is renewable energy?" as they watch the video.

During the video, I ask students to use their Science Journal (Notebook) to write or draw three things they learned about renewable energy. Using a Science Journal is an effective strategy to keep students organized. In their journal, students should record notes, questions, thoughts, comments, and even draw pictures to connect to the content.

After viewing the video, I ask students, "What is renewable energy?" I draw all students into the discussion by using popsicle sticks to choose students to give a response. Some students responses to the question include: wind energy, solar energy, water energy, energy that is not used up one time and/or that comes back the next day.

Lab - Climate Change

30 minutes

This lesson focuses on NGSS MS-ESS 3-5 which states ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperature over the past century. I encourage students to make connections between climate change and its affects on pond life. Ways that I scaffold the learning for students include:

  • building background knowledge by reading an article (Green Problem Solving: From Engineers to Architects, People Getting Creative About Battling Climate Change) about global warming
  • developing domain specific vocabulary (fossil fuels, renewable energy, non renewable energy, solar power, wind power, wild weather)
  • annotating non-fiction text
  • writing a conclusion based on information from the article


This lesson is an opportunity for students to focus on CCC (#7) Stability and Change and SEP (#1) Asking Questions and Defining Problems.

While students get directions and read the Lab Using Renewable Energy To Understand Climate Change, they are also practicing CCSS Science Literacy Standard RST.6-8.4 - Determining the meaning of symbols, key terms, & other domain specific vocabulary. Students will practice words like hypothesisdataexperiment, and conclusion.

To create a better understanding of student expectations, you may need to model the set up for the lab. Provide a few minutes for student groups to set up their lamp and paper spiral and then use a student set up as an example. Model the Student Lab Set Up and Spiral for students to visualize the experience.

Teacher Tip: If these vocabulary words have not yet been taught, they will need to be taught in context during this lesson. I tell students to highlight the vocabulary words and we discuss each word as they come up in the lesson.


5 minutes

I learned that  . . .because . . .

Now, let's write a conclusion. As with any experiment, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but that ok. This provides opportunity to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and changes that could be made to the experiment. This step is very important for students to "come full circle."

I have learned that you need to take students back to the question so they can think about the process. What effect does climate change have on a pond? Take 1-2 minutes for students to process this question and write a conclusion. I give them a sentence starter to help with the process, for example:  I learned that . . .because. . .  Take 1-2 minutes to share answers with the class so students can hear other student thoughts.

One example of a student response is: 

I learned that climate change could affect the pond because if climate change killed a species, it could destroy the food chain in that area.