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Your Environment. Your Health.

Climate Change and Human Health Lesson Plans

Educational Materials

teacher standing in front of students, scorched earth, man and child looking at smokestacks, mosquito

A student exploration of the impacts of climate change on human health in the United States.

Overview

This module is intended to promote student discovery and learning about the complex interactions between climate change, the environment and human health. Using content from the US Global Change Research Program’s 2016 report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment (CHA, 2016), students are prompted to describe the impacts of changing climatic conditions on human health with emphasis on vulnerable populations and apply systems thinking to create a visual model of the various health implications arising from climate change. Students also consider the benefits of climate mitigation on human health and are thus introduced to the concept of co-benefits. Students are invited to identify and evaluate adaptation strategies that are protective of human health. To provide a solutions focus to the module, a culminating activity is offered that enables students to engage with local, state or regional data and the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit to evaluate climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and, if desired, plan a resilience building project to address a climate change related human health impact relevant to their local community.

This module promotes three dimensional learning as described in the National Research Council’s "A Framework for K-12 Science Education". The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) also informed module development with relevant Performance Expectations identified in the summary provided in the supplemental materials. When successfully completed, the module integrates multiple science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross cutting concepts for both earth and life science. It also addresses the essential principles of climate science as outlined in Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science.

This module follows the 5E instructional model [Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate] to promote student discovery and learning about the complex interactions between climate change, the environment and human health.

Acknowledgements

These educational materials were prepared by Dana Brown Haine, MS, University of North Carolina, under temporary assignment to NIEHS through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program.

Disclaimer

These educational materials are the work product of an employee or group of employees of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), however, the statements, opinions or conclusions contained therein do not necessarily represent the statements, opinions or conclusions of the NIH, its component Institutes and Centers, or the United States government. The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests. These materials are in the public domain and may be used and adapted freely.

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