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Social Studies

Civics and Politics

If you were president, what would you do about climate change? 

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

Coal Comes to Anytown: A Public Meeting 

From the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Call on government and corporate leaders to say no to single-use plastics. Could be used as part of a lesson on participating in democracy, petitions, or contacting representatives 

Yale Climate Change and Politics Survey

Activity idea: Develop and conduct a school-wide opinion poll on various issues related to climate change and the government's response 

Yale Climate Opinion Maps

Climate Migration Interactive Map from National Geographic to teach your students about the impacts of forced migration caused by climate change. 

Article on Plastic Bans Around the World

World Wildlife Fund: New Hope on Climate Change. When the government won't lead change, it's up to the public. 

Buy, use, toss? An interdisciplinary curriculum examining how we buy things in the US.


Responsibility to Protect Activity - according to Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, states have a responsibility to protect their people inherent in the idea of internal sovereignty. If states do not protect their people, they lose their right to external sovereignty and others can intervene. When states fail to respond to the climate emergency, are they shirking their Responsibility to Protect? If so, do others have the right to interfere in that states affairs/require them to implement international sovereignty? 

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The industrial revolution: show pictures of New Haven before and after the industrial revolution (some examples on this page). Discuss how life did and did not change for the better or worse and how people dealt with the changes. 



How we got here. New Haven from Native American settlements to present day, a good overview with detailed maps.

Population growth and urbanization in the industrial age talks about how industrialization changed Connecticut cities and discusses how congestion and pollution drove people out of city centers. Additionally, it highlights how the poor working-class suffered from the drawbacks of industrialization. 

Learning from the past: what mistakes have been made in the past and how can we learn from them? 

A timeline of global warming 

How do we balance Environmental Conservation with Human Needs? 

The Future of History, "When the Water Ends" by Evan Abramson (Yale Environment 360) - Video about the effect of water scarcity on groups in Kenya and Ethiopia, such as increased conflict. Can connect to past conflicts over resources. 

Crash Course World History, "Population, Sustainability, and Malthus" (EdPuzzle) - Video about human population and the Earth's carrying capacity with questions (without questions PBS)

Factory Life (Stanford History Education Group) - Lesson on comparing different perspectives from various primary sources on working in 19th century English textile factories

Industrialization (C3 Teachers; website) - Lesson on analyzing the social, economic, and political effects brought on by Industrial Revolution in Great Britain between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries (pdf)

Extreme Global Makeover (PBS) - lesson on modernization in China and India which affects society, politics, economics and the environment (cross-listed under economics)

The Islands and the Whales (PBS) - exploration of food culture through the examination of whaling traditions that stem from those of the Vikings


This Changes Everything 

Eight lesson plans on how our expanding economy impacts the environment

Industry and the Environment 

Discuss and research industry, the life cycle of everyday items, and companies that are incorporating green practices into their business model

Playing it Cool: A Renewable Energy Economics Game 

Students buy and sell electricity from various sources—coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables—under a variety of economic conditions. By seeing prices rise and fall, students learn about economic barriers and opportunities for renewables. From the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

The Government Energy Budget: A Simulation

This simulation encourages students to weigh the relative merits of various energy sources and envision the future of energy use in the United States. From the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Generate: The Game of Energy Choices

Generate is an interactive game that allows students to explore energy choices and teaches the considerations and costs in deciding what type of energy generation to build. 

TED Talk: An Economic Case for Protecting the Planet

Comprehensive Study: Carbon Taxes Won't Hamper the Economy by Dana Nuccitelli from The Guardian 

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (has information by region as well)

China from the Inside

Lesson 1 Globalization (PBS) - lesson on globalization in China and the economic factors that influence political relations

Lesson 2 Environment and Development  (PBS) - lesson on economic development and environmental planning in China

Extreme Global Makeover (PBS) - lesson on modernization in China and India which affects society, politics, economics and the environment (cross-listed under history)

Gas or Electric? Thinking Algebraically About Car Costs, Emissions and Trade-offs

New York Times' math lesson plan.

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Climate Change and Social Justice 

Climate Change and Questions of Justice 

Curriculum from Brown University with readings, role plays, and lessons available

UN Secretary-General on Plastic Waste and a Peaceful Future 

NYT The Environment and Racism Article from the New York Times. 

Environmental Justice Explained short youtube video, great to share with students. 

Lesson Plan: Environmental Racism

Analyzing Environmental Justice Lesson Plan


Relationship between Ecosystems and Social Systems Activity 


Natural Resources and Human Communities Lesson Plan


The Affect of Sea-Level Rise on a Virginia Community Video


Environmental Protection and Indigenous People Lesson Plan

Health Equity and Climate Change

Meet the Human Faces of Climate Migration  video by World Bank, provides stories of people displaced by climate crisis. 


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Climate Activism

Taking on Climate Change by Tatiana Schlossberg

3 Steps to Turn Your Congressman into a Climate Champion by Flannery Winchester 

5 Things to Do About Climate Change by Neil Leary

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After Denial: How People React to the Hard Reality of Climate Change. Video by Bill Finnegan. Runner up for Yale Environment 360 video contest. Looks at climate change through the 5 stages of grief. 

Textbook Trauma: The Emotions of Climate Change video by Yale Climate Connections, two scientists (Sara Myhre and Jeffrey Kiehl) discuss the emotional impacts of climate change. 

Mental Health and Climate Change document by APA and EcoAmerica. See page 21 for specific climate change impacts on mental health. 

How do people cope with feelings about climate change so that they stay engaged and take action? Article by Dr Susie Burke PhD, FAPS.

Climate Change and Mental Health: A Causal Pathway Framework Article by Helen L. Berry, Kathryn J. Bowen, and Tord Kjellstrom. 


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