Hot politics

About the Film:

FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting go behind the scenes to explore how bi-partisan political and economic forces prevented the U.S. government from confronting what may be one of the most serious problems facing humanity today. The film examines some of the key moments that have shaped the politics of global warming, and how local and state governments and the private sector are now taking bold steps in the absence of federal leadership.

Watching the Film:

Teachers can either assign the film for viewing as homework or show the film in class. Suggested discussion questions are provided. The lessons and activities in this guide can be used in the classroom without having viewed the film.

A Note to Teachers:

This lesson guide is intended for classes in social studies, civics and government, language arts, current events and history; Grade Levels 9-12. The guide examines the wide range of viewpoints and scientific evidence that surrounds the issue of global warming and climate change. It is constructed in module activities, allowing teachers to use it in its entirety or to select individual activities to accommodate instructional time and student abilities.

Discussion Questions:

This guide includes a list of pre-viewing and post-viewing questions for students to discuss.

Featured Lesson Plan:

Congressional Hearing on Global Warming and Climate Change

Lesson Objectives:
Students will:

Additional Lesson Ideas:

Taking Matters into Your Own Hands
Students look at greenhouse emissions at home and school and explore ways they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Public Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change
Students organize a public forum at school inviting academic experts and local public officials to discuss the issues of global warming and climate change and explore what actions should be taken to address the issue.

Assessing State and Local Action on Global Warming
Students research bills being discussed or laws passed addressing carbon emissions and climate change, then evaluate the pros and cons of the legislation and develop visual presentations to support their viewpoint.

Additional Resources:

An annotated list of relevant Web sites.

Purchasing the Film:

Hot Politics can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers: http://teacher.shop.pbs.org/home/index.jsp. Also, teachers and students can watch the program streamed in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/


This teacher's guide was developed by Simone Bloom Nathan of Media Education Consultants. It was written by Greg Timmons, curriculum writer and educational consultant. Advisers were Ellen Greenblatt of The Bay School, San Francisco, and Danielle Altadonna of Eleanor Roosevelt High School, New York.