Earth and Atmospheric Science: Communication

The aim of this session is for learners to have the opportunity to reflect on their understanding of climate change and the underpinning Earth and Atmospheric Science, considering how decisions can be made based on evidence and arguments. It is important to promote critical thinking and discussion, drawing on different perspectives. 

This is recommended as session five of the Key Stage Four Earth and Atmospheric Science Unit, exploring the importance of communication.

KS4

Preparation

Green Skills

  • Environmental Stewardship

Curriculum Links

Science 

Earth and Atmospheric Science: 

  • potential effects and mitigation of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate.

Geography

Changing weather and climate:

  • The causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions

Citizenship

  • Experience and evaluate different ways that citizens can act together to solve problems and contribute to society.

Step by step

Quick Starter Activity  

Start by watching this short 2-minute video 'What is net zero?' from the Royal Society:

Preview image for the video "What is net zero? | The Royal Society".

Ask learners to think about and discuss the following question: What will your town or city look like in 100 years' time? What might the natural environment look like? What might the weather look like?  

Main Activity Suggestions

Suggestion 1 (Indoor)

Mastery Science: Carbon Neutral. This resource is a set of four activities that turn students into 'carbon consultants' who help a café eliminate its carbon footprint. Along the way they apply knowledge about the Earth's atmosphere and global warming that they've gained during this unit, and develop the citizenship skill of considering different perspectives, including in relation to policy decisions.

Suggestion 2 (Indoor)

The Poetry Society: We’ve got the poetry power! Learners will discuss the impact of climate change on the planet and society, as well as positive change that can be made as a response to the issue through reading and writing a poem advocating for an issue they believe in.

*These poetry resources can support English curriculum learning outcomes. If you are focusing on other subjects, this resource can be used for discussion and reflection, rather than focusing on assessment of writing.

Suggestion 3 (Outdoor)

Natural History Museum: Measuring carbon in a tree. Students measure trees near their school and calculate the amount of carbon stored in individual trees. This can be used as a basis for discussion and critical assessment of the benefits and challenges of afforestation.

Top Tips

The research and communication in this session can support students to build skills to contribute to the National Education Nature Park process, exploring and communicating which nature-based improvements might support both biodiversity and the climate at their school, taking different needs into account.

This session would also be a good opportunity to use DeBono Thinking Hats, separating the class into six groups, when thinking about climate action: 

  • White Hat: What are the facts and evidence? 
  • Yellow Hat: What are the benefits?
  • Black Hat: What are the risks, challenges or drawbacks? 
  • Red Hat: What are your thoughts and feelings about the challenge? 
  • Green Hat: What creative solutions can we come up with?
  • Blue Hat: How can you use your knowledge, ideas and feelings to make a decision?

For additional inspiration for classroom discussion, or opportunities for young people to take positive action as a class or through project work, see What can you do to help the planet from the Natural History Museum.

The resource contains general background information on topics related to climate change and biodiversity loss. It's an informational resource that has been designed to be edited and added to and used in a variety of ways, in order to best fit the needs of individual key stages, classes and students.