NASA/HS Climate Science

The UW Program on Climate Change, in partnership with UW in the High School, the UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and NASA Global Climate Change Education, is supporting the teaching of climate science by high school teachers. Scientists and high school teachers have been and continue to partner in the development of climate science content for the classroom, as well as responding to specific classroom requests. Climate science modules and a full semester or year-long high school curriculum are being implemented in many classrooms including UWHS Oceanography, 9th grade integrated science, Sustainable Design, UWHS ATMS 211 and more.

Examples of integration of the UWHS ATMS 211 into a full year curriculum include:

  • UWHS ATMS 211, 1 semester following on AP Environmental Science, at Central Kitsap High School.
  • Sustainable Design, with climate science content incorporated throughout the full year course, at the STEM school in Lake Washington School District by a by a 2010-2011 Einstein Fellow (among other awards) and in the Northshore School District by the 2011-12 Innovative Educator Award Winner!
  • UWHS ATMS 211, 1 semester following on UWHS Ocean 101, in Everett. Link to course outline.
  • UWHS ATMS 211, Full Year course, at Lake City High School in Idaho, by Idaho's 2013 teacher of the year!


  • High School teachers interested in incorporating climate into their existing classes, and those interested in teaching the ATMS 211 course in climate science offered through the UW in the High School (UWHS) should contact Miriam at the UW Program on Climate Change (uwpcc@uw.edu) or Tim Stetter at UW in the High School (tstetter@pce.uw.edu).

    Climate Science Teaching and Learning

    Opportunities and Resources

    There are several on-line courses that we recommend, for high school teachers interested in expanding their general knowledge of the climate system.

  • MITx: MITx : Global Warming Science (12 weeks, estimated 8 hours/week)
  • Coursera: Global Warming: The Science of Climate Change originally offered by David Archer at the University of Chicago (8 weeks, 2-5 hours/week).
  • American Museum of Natural History Climate Science, designed for teachers.
  • UWHS ATMS 211: We have several models and examples of UW (ATMOS 211) and high school syllabi, schedules, presentations, exams and more. The textbook required for ATMS 211 is "The Earth System" by Lee R. Kump, James F. Kasting, and Robert C. Crane, Prentice Hall, 2010. Pearson (Prentice Hall) Educator Website.

    One-day professional development opportunities around climate science topics are now offered annually, focusing on a different theme each year. Periodically we offer a full week PD for high school teachers interested in teaching ATMS 211. During this full week we delve into the content of the course, available through a CourseSite, a cloud-style course page that contains chapter materials such as labs and activities, homework, lectures, and background information that were collected collaboratively by the second cohort of UWHS ATMS 211 teachers in 2011/2012. This resource is available to teachers of the UWHS course.

    Presentations:

  • Paleoclimate Proxies and ENSO Presentation (Gambs)
  • Introduction to the Biological Pump (Heal)
  • From Isotopes to Temperature: Using Ice Core Data (Schoenemann)


  • Labs/Modules:

  • Lab: Historical Temperature Data
  • Lab: NASA MERRA Circulation Model
  • Ice Core Lab-two versions are available.
  • Lab: Terrarium
  • Lab: Biological Pump
  • Culminating Project: Scientific Evidence for Anthropogenic Climate Change
  • ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation) Investigation
  • and more are under development.

    PCC Climate Scientist Interviews on Youtube

  • What drives scientists?
  • Comparing satellite measurements to climate model data
  • Determining past climate changes using Antarctic ice cores
  • Changes in the southern ocean circulation
  • Relating atmospheric chemistry to wildfires
  • Interactions between nutrients and photosynthetic organisms in the upper ocean
  • Observing large climate changes of past and future excluding changes in temperature
  • CO2 absorption from the atmosphere
  • Why it rains and where it rains
  • The affect of pollution on clouds in the southeast Pacific


  • Additional Interesting Links:

  • 2013 National Climate Assessment
  • WA State Science Standards (EARLS with links to content standards)
  • NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE)
  • National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) Fall 2012 eJournal
  • Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)
  • Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC Carleton)
  • Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)
  • Climate Change Curriculum Developed at Stanford University
  • Skeptical Science: Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
  • CAMEL Climate Change Education

  • Contact Miriam (uwpcc@uw.edu) for information on UW field trips (climate related), speakers on specific climate topics, and our collaborations with high school teachers.