Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Earth, Climate, and Change

Observing Human Impact

Citizen Science

Learning Targets

  • I can apply scientific principles to evaluating methods for monitoring and minimizing human impact on my local environment.


Scientists and the public are noticing more extreme weather of all types, such as stronger winter storms, earlier springs, and warmer summers. These observations give students opportunities to design or contribute to public science projects. For example, temperatures, storm frequencies, and rain and snowfall can all be measured. Your school might even be involved in recording local meteorological data. Long-term weather data for your area might be available at local or national websites. Climate change affects habitats, which influences the plants and animals in an area and the timing of their seasonal appearances. Conservation societies often organize volunteers to keep records of local flora and fauna; for example in annual bird and fish counts or plant surveys. Teachers, students at your school, or their families might be involved in these efforts. Other examples of ways that students might participate in public science projects are in the photos.

In this activity, students will use photographs as prompts to discuss what they are or could be doing to apply what they have learned in this collection to observe or address climate change in their community.

Begin the Activity

Give students photos of climate scientists and student-citizen scientists at work. Use the photos as prompts for discussions about what problems climate change is creating around the world, either issues students have heard of or effects they would predict based on what they have learned about climate change, the water cycle, weather, and climate. Have students discuss possible studies and research projects they might conduct locally.

Question to Consider

  • What are some actions an ordinary citizen scientist can take to counteract the negative impact of climate-change-related local weather patterns? Choose a possible action and discuss whether a community affected by climate change should take this action. If so, what might some consequences be? If not, why not?

Grade Level

Middle & High School


Earth and Space Science
Environmental Studies
Physical Science
Social Studies


To download this collection, you must agree to the following terms:

Photos downloaded from the Essential Lens site are cleared for educational use only. For other uses, please contact Annenberg Learner for permission.

I Agree

Collection PDF (large)
Collection PDF (small)

Photographs in This Activity

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