Grade 10 Climate Change

This resource page is designed to help students respond to STSE issues relating to ‘Climate Change’ with inquiry-based actions. ‘Climate Change’ is a unit set within the Earth and Space strand of Ontario’s Grade 10 Science curriculum. The Overall Expectations for teaching and learning in this unit are:
1. Analyze some of the effects of climate change around the world, and assess the effectiveness of initiatives that attempt to address the issue of climate change
2. Investigate various natural and human factors that influence Earth's climate and climate change
3. Demonstrate an understanding of natural and human factors, including the greenhouse effect, that influence Earth's climate and contribute to climate change.

General Overview of Resources Use
The activities of this resource page are organized into three progressive sections as recommended in the Backgrounder.
Click here for a brief description of the sections.

Detailed Suggestions for Resources Use
1. Model Inquiry-based STSE Actions
You could begin the unit by drawing out students' existing knowledge of what climate change means in the context of science, technology, society, and environments – this might be done through a class discussion, mind map, short skit, etc. Once students have expressed their thoughts, they can begin to think of activities or events that have threatened or continue to jeopardize local and global climates. Ideally, they will also identify how their own lifestyles may affect changes in climate. A few examples to get the students thinking, include:
Automobile idling: According to surveys, Canadians idle about 6-8 minutes a day, resulting in air pollution and the release of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide from car exhaust.
Landfills: Much of the garbage produced in Ontario is deposited at landfill sites. As the amount of garbage produced by Ontarians grows, so do environmental concerns – we produce about 13 million tonnes a year. Toxic emissions from the breakdown of garbage may seep into the atmosphere (as well as ground and surface water) and negatively contributes to climate change.
Forest conservation: The boreal forest, which houses thousands of animal and plant species, is of global importance. As the world's largest carbon storehouse, it is critical for protecting the earth against global warming. Logging, hydropower, petroleum, and mining industries, however, pose a threat to its conservation.
Having sensitized students to a number of issues related to Climate Change, ask students what could be done about them – record their answers. Furthermore, provide examples of actions people have taken through the article and two videos below. With each example, discuss the type of action, potential sources of information used, and allow students to share opinions about the effectiveness of each action.

1) The 3 R's song

2) Hamilton by-law limits garbage collection
Article: 'One container max starts today'

3) Landfill gas as an alternative form of energy

2. Guided Inquiry-based STSE Actions
Before beginning the project, it is important to assess students’ comfort and expertise with conducting primary and secondary research. You might have to take some time to provide students with lessons on developing inquiry skills such as asking cause-result questions, designing experiments and correlational studies, preparing appropriate tables and graphs, analyzing data, reporting findings, etc. Since students will be conducting primary research, it would also be useful to discuss the general features of correlational studies and experiments.

If you feel that students have sufficient expertise with primary research, you should then proceed with a guided inquiry-based project. One suggestion is for students to conduct primary and secondary research on automobile idling. You could 'hook' your students with a brief true/false quiz.

Part 1 - Survey
Have students...
a. Conduct secondary research on:
- Habits of Canadians (i.e. how long, where and why do we idle our vehicles?)
- Individual factors that may contribute to idling (e.g. gender, type of vehicle)
- Common myths regarding idling
- Environmental, economic, and health-related impacts of idling
- Actions of non-profit organization, governments, community members, etc. in response to the negative impacts of idling.
b. From secondary research and anecdotal evidence, make a list of factors/demographics (independent variables) that may affect time spent idling (dependent variable).
c. Create a survey based on parts a. and b. (e.g. Idling Survey (Sample).doc)
d. Distribute the survey to at least 10-15 people in households with a car.
e. Display the results in a bar graph. It may be useful for students to combine their data to form a larger sample size.
f. Determine whether there is a relationship between individual characteristics and idling practices.

Part 2 - Observations
Have two groups of students go to a fast-food restaurant for a designated amount of time – one group will observe individuals who use the drive thru and the other, those who go into the restaurant. The purpose would be to see whether individuals with an observable characteristic (e.g. alone vs. with a group, male vs. female) are more likely to use the drive thru or not. Students should create a data table to keep track of their observations. It is important to ensure the safety of students (they must make their observations away from traffic) and ensure there is adequate supervision.

Part 3 - Create and implement a plan of action
Together, brainstorm a number of actions that would help effectively address the issue and implement a plan of action. (Watch a news report on actions taken by the Children's Clean Air Network OR a commercial for an idle-free Calgary for inspiration.)

An idea for taking action would be for students to design posters, communicating the importance of not idling vehicles; they could be placed in students' homes and around the school to educate others. Another project could be to team with the school administration to implement an unofficial policy for idle-free zones to be set up around the school roads and parking lots.

Recommended Websites
Natural Resources Canada
Hinkle Charitable Foundation
'Turn your key to be idle free' Campaign (Mississauga)

3. Student-led Inquiry-based STSE Action Project
a. Handout copies of the assignment to the class – it may be useful to do this at the beginning of the unit. Read it over together and ensure everyone understands each part.
b. Provide students with a list of STSE issues relevant to the Internal Systems and Regulation unit, including ones that were brainstormed by students in the first, modeling activism phase.
c. Organize students into small groups of 3-5 students – each will explore and act upon one STSE issue. Encourage students to work collaboratively, making decisions and dividing work appropriately.
d. Provide students with in-class time to use the library and/or computer lab for research and encourage groups to meet outside of class time. It would also be useful to set tentative deadlines for each stage of the project to help groups manage their time.
e. Towards the end of the unit, students should have an opportunity to defend their proposed actions with their research findings in front of the class. This would provide a great opportunity for students to share their learning with the class, reflect upon their growth and next steps, and receive feedback from the teacher and peers.