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King's Centre for Visualization in Science


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


Introduction to Earth's Climate

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  • In this lesson, students will learn the basics of Earth's climate and atmosphere. 
  • This is part 1 of 9 in Explaining Climate Change, a series of lessons from The King's Centre for Visualization in Science. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students can work through this lesson at their own pace.
  • The linked tools in the lesson add interactive and visual elements that are engaging.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students will need access to a device with internet.


  • The readings in this lesson are extensive. Teachers should consider reading scaffolds for students who would benefit from that support.
  • Students can complete this independently, in small groups, or as a class.
  • The questions at the end of the lesson could be turned into a google form to collect students' responses. 
  • Teachers can lead a class discussion using the lesson questions. The challenge questions are especially great to spur discussion.
  • Other resources that cover the basics of climate and climate change include this article by NASA, this interactive webpage, and this crash course lesson.

Scientist Notes
There is no contradiction in the resource. This resource is recommended for teaching climate science.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.3.9-12 Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
  • Related Resources


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