Bundle 6: Climate

Tier 1, Part A: Climate History Interviews Conducted by Students

Tier 1, Part A: Climate History Interviews Conducted by Students

Objective:

Students will conduct an interview(s) of someone who can provide a perspective on what the climate was like when they were younger.

Overview:

This unit has two components that take place simultaneously. The first component is for students to conduct an interview(s) of someone who can provide a perspective on what things were like when they were younger. The objective is for students to interview people who are important in their lives, and who can speak to changes they have seen in their lifetime regarding local climate. This can easily be a cross-curricular interview, aligned with English and Social Studies. We don’t envision students needing all day in class to get this going, but realize they will need some time to conduct these interviews. During the assignment period for the out-of-class interviews, teachers can lead in-class investigation into features of weather and climate. Some suggestions are listed and explored in the second part of this section. At some point, the teacher will need to help the students analyze their data, compare with peers, and make an individual/group/class statement about what they have learned during their interviews.

Big questions:

  • How has climate changed over the last century?
  • What is weather?
  • What is climate?
  • What is the difference between weather and climate?

Standards addressed:

MS-ESS3-5  Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

Tier in depth:

First, we recommend that teachers help students prepare for their interviews by giving them these questions to think about.

Pre-interview:

  1. Determine who you are going to interview. Why do you think they are a good candidate to interview?

  2. Develop a list of questions you think are important to understanding if/how the local climate has been changing?

  3. Compare and compile a list of questions generated by you and your peers (attached is a sample questionnaire that can be used)

  4. Practice interviewing and taking notes with others. Debate the value of recording/transcribing the interviews.

Interview Questions:

What is your name?

 

How long have you lived in the area?

 

What is your occupation? Has your occupation changed?

 

How much time do you spend outdoors now? Did you spend more/less time outdoors in the past?

 

Compared to the past, today’s summer temperatures are:

much hotter     somewhat hotter    same    somewhat cooler    much cooler

 

Compared to the past, today’s winter temperatures are:

much colder     somewhat colder   same    somewhat warmer  much warmer

 

Compared to the past, the number of unusually hot days now is:

much more    somewhat more    same    somewhat fewer    much cooler

 

Compared to the past, the number of unusually cold days now is:

much more      somewhat more    same    somewhat fewer    much cooler

 

Compared to the past, our climate today is:

much wetter     somewhat wetter    same    somewhat drier     much drier

 

Compared to the past, the first frost now occurs:

much earlier     somewhat earlier      same    somewhat later     much later

 

Compared to the past, bird migration now occurs:

much earlier     somewhat earlier      same    somewhat later     much later

 

Compared to the past, ice breaking in spring now occurs:

much earlier     somewhat earlier    same    somewhat later      much later

 

We have more heavy downpours now than in the past

strongly agree        agree        disagree       strongly disagree         not sure

 

We have more droughts now than in the past

strongly agree        agree        disagree       strongly disagree         not sure

 

We have more snow now compared to the past

strongly agree        agree        disagree       strongly disagree         not sure

 

We shovel our driveways more frequently than in the past

strongly agree        agree        disagree       strongly disagree         not sure

 

Overall, would you say that climate has changed significantly during your lifetime? If so, how has it changed?

 

What have been the impacts of these changes on you and the place where you live? What will happen in your area if these changes continue?

 

How have you responded or adapted to these changes?

 

What will you do in your own community in the future in response to these changes?

 

It may be useful to have students summarize their interview in written form using these five sections.  Students can write personal climate narratives (by replacing interview subject with “yourself”) but because they cannot remember back over multiple decades, the changes students see from year to year do not constitute trends in climate.

  1. Start with a paragraph about the interview subject. The story should start with name, town or city, state. Include their profession and recreational activities.

  2. Tell us how long the interview subject has lived or worked in the area. The length of time observing changes is an important part of climate science.

  3. Tell us the changes the interview subject witnessed and described. This section should just be about what is happening. It might be changes in the seasons, rainfall, etc…  It is important to describe only the changes – keep them separate to your description of what the changes mean for individuals and for the community.

  4. Tell us the consequences of climate change. “Consequences” could be problems for wildlife or farm animals, changes in recreation activities like hunting and fishing seasons, damage to crops, or people. Include effects on people, neighbors, employment, livelihoods, etc.

  5. Tell us what solutions you want to see from local or national leaders, or what you plan to do locally. Climate witness stories naturally touch on solutions to problems that people are seeing. Describe them.

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