English and Language Arts
10 Research Paper Topics on Climate Change (Word.Doc)
"If you were president, what would you do about climate change?", prompt with questions presented by The New York TImes ?
Writing about climate change (short steps and suggestions on how to formulate an argument)
Part 1: Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning
Part 2: Well Written Explanation
Translating Qualitative & Quantitative Details: Climate Change
Climate Storytelling Guide - A guide on writing children's stories about climate change!
Do You Experience Climate Anxiety?
New York Times' article and writing prompts,
Articles (some with assignments!)
Miami is Flooding (The Siege of Miami by Elizabeth Kolbert) and Attached Assignment
Ocean-clogging Microplastics Also Pollute the Air by Liam Stack and Attached Assignment (questions coinciding with the article)
Articles from Yale Climate Connections (multiple articles on weather changes, personal stories, …)
More coming soon! Let us know if you have any great articles and assignments!
Let students determine whether or not natural gas is a fossil fuel with this National Geographic debate activity.
Climate Assignments for Classic Novels
The Great Gatsby Hot and Cold Assignment (a list of questions on the passages in the novel)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly - Have students relate humans and climate change with the destruction Dr. Frankenstein caused by messing with nature and by his toxic ambition.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Have students draw parallels between events and details of Gilead (the colonies, decreased reproduction due to pollution) with climate change. Is this "speculative fiction" with regard to the climate crisis? See this Guardian article for more ideas.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding - See this article for connections with climate change present in Lord of the Flies.
Let us know if you have more ideas! We're constantly updating our resources!
Climate Change Novels and Recommended Authors
The End of Nature by Bill McKibben (summary)
New York 2140 by Kim Robinson (dystopian, longer novel)
Mayah's Lot by Charlie La Greca and Rebecca Bratspies (graphic novel, free pdf)
The World-Ending Fire (a collection of essays)
Has many other works: essays, books, and poems
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (the second book in the MaddAddam trilogy) (suggestion: Assign first book in trilogy for summer reading)
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction from Arizona State University (free pdf download) A collection of climate change short stories.
The Weight of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures essays and short stories free to download from Arizona State University.
The Tamarisk Hunter by Paolo Bacigalupi
Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet by Margaret Atwood
I'm With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet with stories from famous authors like David Mitchell, including the above poems by Margaret Atwood and Paolo Bacigalupi.
Spoken Word, Poetry, and Music
A collection of poems written by students on climate change from the Young Poets Network.
Lesson idea: during a unit on poetry, give students a few of these poems of different styles to read and discuss and then create a poem of their own
UN Climate Summit Poem: "Dear Matafele Peinem"
A Language of Change by David Sergeant
Sonnets: Love Poems in the Time of Climate Change
Example from our partners at High School in the Community: host a school-wide poetry competition where students submit poems on climate change. Select faculty judge the poems and award a gift card to the best poem.
Prince Ea (spoken word artist)
A Poem to My Daughter by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (poem starts at minute 2:40).
High ice and hard truth: the poets taking on climate change by Bill McKibben
Songs About Climate Change by Kendra Pierre-Louis (NYT)
Music for Our Emergency by Grayson Haver Currin (NPR)
Speech and Debate
Natural Gas: A Cleaner Energy Solution or Just another Fossil Fuel? A writing and debate activity from National Geographic
Decision Making: A Mock Town Meeting on a Proposed Tank Farm Students take on different roles in order to decide if a company is allowed to build a new plant in a fictional town
Cars of the future public speaking project
Teach climate related vocab and assign level appropriate writing assignment using the target words.
What is climate change? video and corresponding worksheet. From busyteacher.org
First to Fall: an ESL class on the first casualties of climate change. Goes through three stages of conducting an ESL class on climate change. From busyteacher.org
NASA Earth Minute. Short videos with illustrations and subtitles that help explain different aspects of climate change.
In a class with students from many different countries: have students compare and contrast the U.S. with their home countries on attitudes towards the environment, contributions to climate change, and actions towards tackling the problem.
Climate change lesson from BBC Teaching English
Climate Change lesson for teenage and adult learners of strong intermediate level or B2 level or above.
Breaking News English. New Articles in seven levels of difficulty. Articles on the environment here.
For Young Readers and Elementary Schoolers
My Wounded Island - "Addressing the topic of climate refugees, My Wounded Island is based on the challenges faced by the Iñupiat people who live on the small islands north of the Bering Strait near the Arctic Circle."
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood - "After seeing how restless they were and their lack of healthy food options, Tony Hillery invited students from an underfunded school to turn a vacant lot into a beautiful and functional farm."
Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea: How One Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet - "Award-winning author Elizabeth Suneby's thoroughly researched and inspiring story introduces young children to the problems associated with open-flame cooking in the developing world, as well as background information on sustainable technology."