Climate Change: It's All Around Us (Day 2 of 3)

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Students will be able to connect multiple ecological impacts of climate change through a jigsaw reading and discussion activity using current, popular resources.

Big Idea

How does climate change impact wildfires, the oceans, and glaciers? How do our national policies to fight climate change stack up against those of other nations? Students will find out through an engaging JigSaw Activity in this lesson!

Notes for the Teacher

I worked with this lesson for the first time last year when I piloted a lesson using using Stanford University's International Carbon Footprint Challenge resources.  Students were very curious to explore the subject further and I was looking for a way to broaden our conversion about the multiple aspects of climate change.  

Day 1 of this three day jigsaw activity gives students time to pick their topic area of interest and read and annotate their primary text.  

Day 2 provides students collaborative support to deepen their understanding of their topic area and

Day 3 is when it all comes together through a jigsaw discussion with their lab groups.  


For me as a teacher, this lesson met many of my overarching goals for the year, including:

  • bringing Common Core skills focusing on reading, analyzing, and comparing texts into our classroom through authentic experiences.
  • working with subjects and resources that engaged students in a personally relevant way.
  • providing opportunities for collaboration and discussion that encourages and develops student voice and science literacy.
  • allowing students to experience alternative points of view from around the world.
  • showing students how many different types of scientists there are and the range of science investigations that happen in the lab and in the field.  


The Classroom Flow: Directions for the Day

5 minutes

1.  Point out the classroom prompt on the board from yesterday:  

How is climate change affecting, transforming and connected to each of the following areas?

international politics 



marine life 

2.  Ask students to go to their expert group area of the room so that they can clarify any questions about their article and discuss the context and overall significance of their research.  Tell them that they will have a few minutes to finish their own quiet reading/reflection before moving onto the discussion phase of the activity.

The Classroom Flow: Four Corners Discussions

45 minutes

1.  Once all members of the corner groups have finished reading their article, direct each group to discuss their impressions and clarifying questions together for 5-10 minutes.  

2.  To ensure that each group has a solid foundation in their subject area, pass out a set of guiding questions to encourage more dialogue, collaboration, and check-ins with me concerning vocabulary and content.

  • Note:  In the past, I have given out the discussion prompts while students annotate their reading selection on their own.  However, I found that students became very task oriented and focused more on completing the sheet rather than really delving into the article itself.  By asking students to discuss first and then following up with the prompts, the conversations become more authentic, driven by individual group needs and interests.  

3.  As the class ends, tell students that tomorrow we will continue with our activity to share information from each of the expert groups.  See student work samples to give you an idea of the high level of expectation and comprehension I found for almost all of my student.  I was impressed to see their level of knowledge and vocabulary fluency through their group discussions!

On to the Day 3 Jigsaw!