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Congressional Hearing on Global Warming and Climate Change

Lesson Objectives:

Students will:

Materials Needed:

Time Needed:


Step 1: Opening the Lesson - Introductory Questions

Write the following questions on the board or overhead projector. Pair students up to discuss each of the following questions and record the main points, and then have several student groups report to the class.

If needed, teachers might want to refer students to the EPA animated primer on global warming at http://www.epa.gov/globalwarming/kids/global_warming_version2.html or a handout for kids on greenhouse gases found at http://epa.gov/climatechange/kids/greenhouse.html.

Step 2: Global Warming Timeline and Graphic Organizer

While students are still in pairs, distribute the Student Handout "Timeline on Global Warming" and have them complete the graphic organizer. When they are finished, review their responses in a class discussion.

Step 3: Hot Politics Perspectives on Global Warming.

Before beginning this activity, review with students the last question in Step 1 and have them restate their answers and reasons. Then distribute copies of or have students access the CNN article entitled "A Truly Global Problem" at http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/04/08/earth.policy/index.html. Next, distribute the Venn diagram and statement sheet. Students may work in their original pairs or new groups. Review the directions, asking students to identify the number of the statement that goes in the appropriate section of the Venn diagram. The diagram asks the question, "Should the United States government be more aggressive in addressing the issue of global warming?" The Venn diagram features three positions:

  • Statements that support of more aggressive government action
  • Statements that do not support more aggressive government action
  • Statements where both sides agree

After students have completed the Venn diagram, ask them if anything in the activity had caused them to change the position they stated in the last question of Step 1 and the reasons why or why not.

Step 4: Congressional Hearing on Global Warming and Climate Change

Assessment Recommendations

  1. Assess student involvement in the discussion questions and opening activity.
  2. Evaluate the students' coverage of the timeline graphic organizer and the Venn diagram.
  3. Evaluate students' participation in their constituent group's (or Congressional Committee's) preparation and presentation of their policy statement.
  4. Evaluate the editorial on students' accuracy in following the guidelines above, the extent of their evidence and quality of their arguments, as well as the organization and persuasiveness of their writing.