This collection of data-rich activities fills a spot on the resource shelf for teachers of secondary science or general classes at the college level. Supported by two NSF grants and a grant from the Ohio Board of Regents, the authors have conscientiously gathered data and references from recognized scientific sources that allow students to examine for themselves information concerning climate change.
The collection addresses both the methods of studying climate change and the data that support current theory. Each section gives background information on climate and the way in which it appears to be changing. This information can be used as a foundation for the instructor or as assigned readings for more capable and self-motivated students. Included with each page of reading are SCiLinks that connect readers to further information, with needed codes given to access the information via the internet.
Each section includes basic vocabulary, meaningful concepts relevant to the ideas of climate and climate change, illustrations, photographs, diagrams, and graphs. References are extensive, and a special note is made in the student section as to which references are relevant.
The topics are relevant, eye-catching, and provide a hook to inspire interest. Studying the polar bear population or the carrion-eating functions of wolves will interest even the climate-change skeptics in your class. Data on sea ice, bird migrations, insect maturations, and snowfall become part of structured activities.
The student pages are separated from the introductory reading sections, which is where student engagement will be greatest. Special forms for group reports are found at the end of the chapters. It is through these that students are encouraged to interpret data and draw conclusions.
Teachers who build most of their units around hands-on investigations often find the scope and methods of climatology a challenge. As an alternative form of inquiry, using and manipulating data to draw conclusions can help students develop proficiency in methods and deep understanding. These chapters and data would be equally interesting in a social science class, especially when debating climate change.