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6th, 7th, 8th


Social Studies, Geography, Health

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Articles and Websites
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus




Understand How Climate Change Affects Others

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  • In this activity, students will learn how factors such as location, wealth, gender, age, ethnicity, or being a member of a minority group can make people more vulnerable to climate change.
  • Students will read an article about how climate change affects people disproportionately and then do a role-play activity that demonstrates how some people will experience harsher effects of climate change than others.

Teaching Tips


  • The teacher's guide provides step-by-step instructions for the role-play activity. 
  • This activity will help students understand that some people are more vulnerable than others.

Additional Prerequisites

  • In preparation for the activity, teachers need to print and cut out the role cards in advance.
  • Students should have time to read their character cards and think about the factors that increase a person's vulnerability to climate change, which are listed on the handout.
  • Students may need help deciphering their character's gender since some of the role cards do not say whether the character is male or female.


  • Students could work in small groups to come up with a list of solutions to protect vulnerable populations.
  • This lesson could be used in an economics or civics course to illustrate how economic policies such as tax laws could reduce poverty and promote equality.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on who is responsible for climate change, this activity on poverty and access to clean water, and this Carbon Brief video that shows which countries are responsible for the most carbon emissions.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces students to the concepts of vulnerability, climate resilience, and adaptation. Students will be motivated to take urgent climate action to reduce the impact of climate change on minorities and other vulnerable populations. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
      • D2.Geo.10.6-8 Analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world.
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