NASA/HS Climate Science

Climate Science, Change and Impacts for High School and Introductory Undergraduate Science Classes

updated October 27, 2015

High School Climate Curriculum

Recommended as a full year course, but may be done in one semester. Teachers are encouraged to adapt this model to their need.

  • Learning Goals
  • Course Outlined in Four Units

  • Additional Resources are available upon request (

    UWHS Global Warming Course

    UW Course: ATMS 111

    Dual enrollment course taught in the high school by high school teachers for UW credit. Offered in partnership with UW Atmospheric Sciences.

    Labs/Modules : Content Overview (Table)

  • Simple Climate Model using Excel
  • Exploring Historical Temperature Records
  • NASA MERRA Circulation Model
  • Understanding Paleoproxies using Ice Cores-two versions are available.
  • Terrarium Model of Earths' Energy Balance
  • Exploring the Biological Pump with primary literature and social media
  • Explore Scientific Evidence for Anthropogenic Climate Change from IPCC reports
  • ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillation) Investigation
  • From Isotopes to Temperature, & Influences of Orbital Forcing on Ice Records
  • Understanding the impact of Ocean Acidification on Oysters using published data
  • "Glaciology and Erosion" OR The Glacial History of Puget Sound as seen through high-resolution data of local topography using Google Earth NEW!

  • Featured Lab: Rain on Snow Flooding

    Students learn what causes rain-on-snow floods while considering the earth's energy balance, and utilize an excel model to investigate how these events might change in the future.

    VIDEO: Rain on Snow Flooding Energy Balance (YouTube)

    Rain-on-Snow Flooding: Presentation, Lab and other teaching materials.

    Video's featuring Scientists

  • More Than Scientists: Climate scientists, many from UW, and producer Eric Michelman urge all to unite in solving the climate problem.
  • "Why do you study the ocean?" Clips from interviews of scientists on a Schmidt Ocean Institute Cruise
  • "Rain on Snow Energy Balance" Briefing
  • PCC Climate Scientist Interviews

  • 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

  • Science Content Presentations

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

  • Other Opportunities and Resources

  • 2013 National Climate Assessment
  • WA State Science Standards (EARLS with links to content standards)
  • Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)
  • Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC Carleton)
  • Climate Change Curriculum Developed at Stanford University
  • Skeptical Science: Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
  • CAMEL Climate Change Education
  • Visiting Geoscientists: An Outreach Guide for Geoscience Professionals