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Database Provider


Khan Academy


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Types

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 38 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus


The Atmosphere and Climate

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  • This video explains that even though the Earth's climate has changed throughout history, burning fossil fuels has caused an unprecedented rise in global temperatures. 
  • Students will learn about the techniques that scientists use to study the Earth's climate history and how changing the amount of carbon in the carbon cycle contributes to global warming.
Teaching Tips


  • Colorful animations keep this video interesting.
  • A full transcript of the video is available with a tracking feature, so students can easily follow along.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The interactive quiz can be recorded in Google Classroom if you sign in.


  • Students in science classes could draw pictures or diagrams to show how humans have interrupted the natural climate cycle by burning fossil fuels.
  • History and science classes could discuss what they think would have happened to society and the planet if we had not discovered fossil fuels.
  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with civics or government classes by having students draft a global policy to end climate change using the information in the video and additional research.
  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive presentation on how scientists use ice cores to learn about the past, this lesson on climate change in Earth history, and this interactive resource that shows changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Scientist Notes
This short video (<4min) offers a brief overview of the climate, factors that change naturally, and how human activity is changing the atmosphere rapidly. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • HS-ESS1-6 Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
      • 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.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • 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: History
      • D2.His.1.6-8 Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
      • D2.His.1.9-12 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
  • Related Resources


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