Global Change Institutes Home


Fact Sheet on Global Change

Learn More About Great Lakes Climate Change Science Links
Climate Change Intro by Dr. David Flaspohler Slide Show or view as PDF Slide Show 3 mb


2010 Archive
2010 Global Change Teacher Institute
2010 Lesson Plans

2009 Archive
Global Change Institute 2009

2008 Archive
Global Change Institute 2008
opens new window

2007 Archive:
Global Change Inst. 2007

2006 Archive:
Global Change Inst. 2006
2006 Lesson Plans

2005 Archive:
Global Change Inst. 2005
Photo Slide Show 2005
Lesson Plans 2005
DOE Names Michigan Tech Regional Center for Climate Change Research

To download a free copy of Acrobat Reader for reading the files, click [Get Acrobat Reader]


Global Change
K-12 Teaching Units
2010 Archive

Table of Contents -- All PDF Files

Global Change Units developed by

2010 Global Change Summer Teacher Institute Participants

1. Climate Change and the Greenhouse Effect, by Healther Colombo
6th Grade, Science

Unit Overview
This unit addresses how the greenhouse gasses contribute to changing climate. Each year my students arrive knowing that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that it causes temperatures to rise. Through this lesson the students will come away with a deeper understanding of the greenhouse gasses and how they affect the changing climate.

2. Effects of Human Impact on Water Quality: Above and Below Ground, by Christine Kelly
7th Grade, Science

Unit Overview
A. Students will discover and describe the links between land use and the water quality of streams, rivers, and lakes when they observe how pollutants from various human land uses can be carried by runoff through watershed, eventually reaching one of the Great Lakes. Students will identify and list examples of best management practices (BMPs) through pollution prevention and/or mitigation of impacts. B. Using their knowledge of the water cycle, students will explore and explain how groundwater moves and interacts with surface water in a watershed. Using Michigan groundwater data, students determine how groundwater may be contaminated and whether the cleanup of such contamination is feasible. The importance of groundwater to Michigan and how groundwater is used in Michigan will also be discussed. C. Students will list and describe human impacts to our aquatic habitats as a result of nutrient loading and pesticide use. They will draw a connection between external use of fertilizers and pesticides and acidic compounds in our atmosphere and the resulting change in pH of the freshwater systems.

3. How applying nitrogen fertilizer can affect biodiversity: A 7th grate partial inquiry lesson on nitrogen saturation, by Denise Payment, Tahquamenon Area Schools
7th Grade, Science

Unit Overview
In most classrooms the nitrogen cycle is just a set of steps and processes that students learn in class as part of a unit on cycles, probably related to plants or global warming. Nitrogen, an important component of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is often overlooked. Carbon dioxide is widely referenced in the classroom, but little is understood by students about nitrogen’s role in global change.

This unit is meant to show how the nitrogen cycle has an impact on global change. This will be done through observations of plant growth in plots using a variety of nitrogen application concentrations. This allows students to see the ramifications of nitrogen use in the environment and infer from the data how other systems and biodiversity are affected by nitrogen application.

The first two days of this unit will be spent on the nitrogen cycle, leading into the experiment where students will add nitrogen to plots of mixed weeds and grasses. They will make observations over time and record the change in the size, number and type of plants that are growing. This unit could also be adapted to the classroom

The unit will add depth to the benchmarks covered in 7th grade Life and Earth science that address how humans affect the environment. This material will also help students see that real world farming or agricultural strategies are affecting the nitrogen cycle and subsequently global temperature change and organism diversity.

1. Algebra 1 Lessons for Global Change, by Amy Culver
9th Grade, Algebra

Unit Overview
This unit is a compilation of several lessons meant to occur at different times of the year in Algebra. Though they are not from one unit, they are valuable lessons to reinforce global change concepts outside of science class. The first two lessons address scatter plots, data correlation, best fit lines, and linear regression from a unit entitled Linear Functions & Inequalities that occurs during the first semester. The last three lessons address surveys, data analysis, displaying data, and misleading data displays from a unit entitled Data Analysis & Probability that occurs at the end of the year. Discussing global change issues through mathematical concepts will help students make connections to real-world ideas and problems, and emphasize the idea that these issues are important to our daily lives, as well ashelping them understand how important and useful Algebra can be.

2. Global Change Lesson Plans, by Ian Gagnon
10th Grade, Physical Science, Life Science, Environmental Science

Unit Overview
The driving forces behind what happens to global change are rooted in physical science. These are fundamental disciplines, and should be addressed when looking at what we have in the environment today. This unit covers physical processes that drive changes in the climates such as reactions of compounds that produce greenhouse gases, pH measurements, energy conversion, conservation of mass, and energy.

3. Global Change Unit, by Brian Neil
11th and 12th Grade, Environmental Science

Unit Overview
The initial focus of this unit of study is helping students evaluate short-term change within the context of long- term trends using the context of climate history. Real data from various sources will be reviewed and discussed. The teacher’s role will be restricted to guidance during data analysis with students being given latitude in reaching their own conclusions. In addition students will be challenged to work with peers to produce a workable solution to a community-based, environmental problem which has a climate connection.

4. Global Change Unit: It’s More Than Just Increasing Temperature, by Cindy Ruotsi

Unit Overview
The following unit works well in a Biology classroom during a unit on Ecology. Throughout the unit, students will learn about the carbon and nitrogen cycles as well as important global changes that are taking place. Students will participate in class discussions, will watch videos and read articles, will write to an elected official about a change they’d like to see in regards to the food industry or some other environmental issue, and finally, will develop and carry out a project that helps them to make their school more eco-friendly.

5. Microclimate and Global Change Teaching Unit, by Jacob Walikainen
11th and 12th Grade, Interdisciplinary

Unit Overview
Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to define and demonstrate an understanding of global change. Students will recognize major factors affecting global change, participate in field studies of global change, research climate change using the internet/technology to identify damage to parts of ecosystems from global change and write a reflection/research paper on what global change means to them and the planet.


For more information regarding the Institute, contact Joan Schumaker-Chadde at 906-487-3341 or

Joan Schumaker-Chadde, Course Coordinator
Western U.P. Center for Science, Math & Environ. Education
105 Dillman Hall
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI 49931
Tel: 906-487-3341 Fax: 906-487-1620


Copyright © 2009 by Michigan Technological University.Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education
Hosted by Michigan Technological University

All rights reserved. The sale or commercial use of text, illustrations, photographs, and graphic images presented are not permitted. Educational uses are permitted on a limited basis, provided credit is given to the authors. Prior written permission of the primary author is required before broadly disseminating any part of this publication in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise.>

If you have any problems or comments, contact the page designer and webmaster.
E-mail E.H.Groth, Webmaster