Educator Resources

Educator Resources

Teaching the next generation about climate change is key to the future of the planet your students will inherit. The following resources can support your classroom discussions and activities around climate change and energy use.

A message regarding distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: In this time of social distancing, many schools have turned to distance learning initiatives and are encouraging parents to educate children at home. To assist with your climate change lessons, we have curated a list of resources suited for the home classroom, including printables, engaging educational videos, and hands-on activities requiring materials that can usually be found around the house. Happy learning!

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Interactive Activities for the Home Classroom

  • Energy Kids for Teachers, U.S. Energy Information Administration
    Parents, teachers, and students alike can find resources for all ages on this page, including:

    • Lesson plans categorized by grade level, from primary to secondary.
    • Science fair experiments you can try at home, using materials commonly found at home.
    • Virtual field trips to energy production facilities around the country, through a photo journal narrated by “Energy Ant.”
    • A teacher guide based on the resources within the website with interdisciplinary energy lessons crossing language arts, math, performing arts, science, and social studies.
  • NEED Distance Learning Resources, National Energy Education Development project
    NEED has compiled a list of interactive activities for students of diverse age levels, with printable worksheets and home experiments requiring minimal supervision, including:

    • Interactive energy infobooks tailored to each grade level.
    • Energy-related games in PDF format for easy downloading.
    • Coloring sheets and creative performance activities.

Data Visualizations and Maps

  • Outreach and Education Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    NOAA’s website contains many resources to help parents, teachers, and students learn about climate change and the world around us. The authors of the page have even compiled a Staying In guide collecting the site’s most popular resources for learning from home, including:

    • Interactive data visualizations and virtual expeditions.
    • Videos and podcasts for elementary-aged children.
    • Opportunities to participate in citizen science initiatives from home.
  • NASA Earth Observatory Global Maps
    NASA has a series of interactive maps students can use to explore conditions around the world, from sea surface temperature to wildfires. Each map also includes a detailed explanation of how to interpret the map and the significance of different readings. Finally, more advanced students can download the data directly to explore on their own.

Immersive Video Lessons for All Ages

  • Educator Resources, U.S. Department of Energy
    This webpage features links to video resources for students on renewable energy resources, solar energy resources, and coloring books for younger children. The page includes:

    • 360 and virtual reality videos allowing students to immerse themselves in virtual visits to energy production facilities
    • An Energy 101 video series demonstrating the fundamentals of renewable energy.
    • In addition to video content, the page also includes Solar Decathlon education resources for K-12 and Switch on Clean Energy and BioenergizeME coloring books.

Materials for Teachers

  • Guidance in Teaching about Climate and Energy, Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)
    CLEAN offers easy-to-read explanations of climate and energy science and policy principles, as well as resources on lesson plan and curriculum development. The resources are particularly helpful for teachers looking to expand their own knowledge on climate and energy concepts while creating lesson plans for students of all ages.
  • EPA Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides and Online Resources for Educators
    This page contains a comprehensive collection of environmental and science-based lesson plans, activities, and ideas collected from the EPA’s own resources as well as other federal agencies and external organizations. The lesson plans range from simple worksheets to more complex experiments and are labeled by grade level.
  • The Climate Change Collection, The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES)
    Developed by a team of science teachers, climate scientists and learning experts who reviewed hundreds of resources for accuracy and effectiveness, this collection includes background materials, high-quality web portals, classroom activities, and research on misconceptions about weather and climate.

C2ES Lesson Plans on Climate and Energy

  • CO2 Catchword Bingo Teacher Guide
    Using an energy-related twist on the classroom favorite game of bingo, students will learn energy saving tips and become familiar with common energy and climate terminology.
  • Seeking Out Our Lighting Choices Teacher Guide
    This activity involves a practical demonstration of temperature differences between two types of light bulbs and then introduce other energy efficient actions that save money and energy at home.
  • Seeking Out Our Energy Sources Teacher Guide
    Students will engage in a comprehensive learning expedition to explore and investigate energy; how it is made, where it comes from and how modern society uses it today and tomorrow. This activity encourages students to practice both their research and public speaking skills.

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C2ES thanks the Alcoa Foundation for its support, which allowed us to develop our Climate Classroom content. As a fully independent organization, C2ES is solely responsible for its positions, programs, and publications.