The MEECS Climate Change Unit provides an interdisciplinary approach to climate change concepts using Michigan examples. Designed for use in Earth Science, Physical Science, Live Science (Biology), and Social Studies Class the lesson sequence begins with distinguishing between weather, climate, and climate variability. Students then gain a basic understanding of the natural mechanisms of climate change through exploration of the Earth's energy balance, the greenhouse effect, and the carbon cycle (sources and sinks).
This is followed by a look at the evidence for climate change from past climate, current measurements, climate models, and impacts of climate change. From the life science perspective, there is an interactive ecosystem modeling activity that considers species distribution shifts as a result of climate change. Phenology (branch of ecology that explores the seasonal timing of life cycle events) is explored in another lesson.
There are three lessons that focus on the social science perspective. In a class dialogue with role playing, the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change in Michigan are examined from different perspectives. Communicating about climate change is explored through climate change in the news and contributions of Michigan climate researchers.
The concluding lesson focuses on what can be done to educate people about climate change and the actions can be taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.