Teaching Tools

Six Week Climate Change Program

Members of the Connecticut Science Center Collaborative have developed content for a 6-week climate change program for students in 4th through 6th grade. The participating science centers are The Beardsley Zoo, The Discovery Museum, The Maritime Aquarium, SoundWaters, and The Stamford Museum and Nature Center.

Each center brought a different educational focus to the curriculum development process adding much creativity and scientific content to the program.  The development and dissemination of these lesson plans and activities was made possible by a grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation and the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation.

The lesson plans cover the following topics:

  • • Climate and Weather – What is the difference?
  • • What causes climate change?
  • • The Carbon Cycle
  • • How do we know our climate is changing?
  • • What can we do about climate change?

Through role playing, presentations, and problem-solving activities, students learn what they can do about climate change. Each of the lesson plans can be completed in sixty minutes and are designed for a class of twenty students.  If you are interested in learning more about this curriculum or having a science center teach a lesson at your facility please contact Karin Jakubowski at jandrews@cleanair-coolplanet.org


Clean Energy Climate Solutions Project

The Connecticut Science Center Collaborative, a member chapter of the Northeast Collaborative, has embarked upon a two-year project to develop educational programs and tools on clean and renewable energy as a solution to climate change. This project was made possible by a grant received from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
The Clean Energy Climate Solutions program is designed for elementary and secondary students, and can be done at Collaborative sites or as outreach programs integrated in to classroom work.  Kits and materials can accommodate a standard classroom of up to 25 students and fit into standard classroom periods.  Activities may be extended for block scheduling or science lab periods.

The existing clean energy kits are organized around three sources of renewable energy: wind, solar and hydrogen fuel cells. 

wind turbinesDesigning for the Wind involves students in the process of controlling variables that will directly impact energy output.  Participants use a working wind generator and an electrical meter to conduct a series of experiments that demonstrate how wind could potentially serve as a significant source of power in the Northeast.  The kits contains materials for students to build and compare windmills with various blade configurations – using different numbers of blades, and positioning them at different angles – to see how to maximize the power generated.   Not only do students learn about the technology needed to generate wind energy, but they have a better understanding of how clean energy is a solution to climate change.

Energy from the Sun demonstrates the photovoltaic effect and how to measure electrical power (Watts) in units of Volts and Amperes. solar panel Students will learn how the changing position of the sun in the sky affects the performance of a solar cell.  They will assemble cells in series and parallel circuits to vary the voltage and amperage of a photovoltaic array.  Photovoltaics are beginning to make inroads into the region and are a clean alternative for onsite power installations.

fuel cellFuel Cells for our Future incorporates the use of the photovoltaic array from the previous activity to split water through electrolysis in a reversible fuel cell.  This produces hydrogen and oxygen gases, which are collected and then recombined in the fuel cell.  The electrical energy produced by the electrochemical reaction is used to propel an electric car, with water as its only byproduct.  Fuel cells require a secondary source of energy, such as wind or solar, to produce hydrogen gas, but once produced the hydrogen acts as a clean energy carrier and one day may largely replace fossil fuels for automobiles, homes and businesses.

The ten science centers participating in this project are CT Audubon, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, The Children’s Museum, The Trash and Garbage Museum, Discovery Museum and Planetarium, Dinosaur State Park, Eli Whitney Museum, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Stepping Stones Museum for Children, and Talcott Mountain Science Center for Student Involvement.

You can learn more about this program at http://www.ctinnovations.com/funding/ccef/climate_solutions.php; or contact Karin Jakubowski or one of the participating science centers to schedule a class or for more information.

  • Clean Energy Kits available through
    Massachusetts science centers

The New England Science Center Collaborative has also launched the Clean Energy Climate Solutions project in Massachusetts.  The project is a collaboration between the Boston Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, and the EcoTarium in Worcester, under a grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s  (MTC) K-12 Education Program, which provides educational tools and programs on renewable energy to science centers and the schools they serve through their outreach programs.

The Massachusetts program will reach a total of about 8,000 adults and children through programs conducted on the museum floors and in schools. The Museum of Science and the EcoTarium will use the kits on their exhibit floors with the help of staff and docents to guide their visitors' learning experiences. The New England Aquarium will use the kits in high school programs and teacher trainings.

For more information about this program or to find out how to attend a scheduled workshop, please contact Karin Jakubowski at jandrews@cleanair-coolplanet.org or one of the three participating Massachusetts’ science centers.


Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a multi-media planetarium show exploring climate change, developed by (Collaborative member) the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium. It presents the earth's climate, how it is changing, probable human impacts, and suggests specific actions for reducing our impact. For more information go to the Planetarium website or call 603-271-7831.

Exhibit: Climate Change, Should We Care?

NESCC has a family-friendly exhibit Climate Change, Should We Care? displayed at nine locations throughout New EnglandThe New England Science Center Collaborative, a member chapter of the Northeast Collaborative, has this family-friendly, interactive exhibit displayed at nine locations throughout New England. The exhibit makes the science understandable, helps people to see how human actions effect the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and offers solutions. It also includes three popular games identifying sources of CO2 emissions, comparing them, and highlighting ways to lower them. For more information contact Karin Jakubowski.

Classroom Encounters

Classroom Encounters logoA wonderful new DVD series captures prominent climate scientists interacting with earth science students in the classroom. The first in the series, entitled "What Does Science Say About Cimate Change," features Dr. William Moomaw of (Collaborative member) Tufts University. Check out the samples below; to get this or additional Classroom Encounters programs in their entirety, visit the website.

EXCERPT - Dr. Moomaw on how speaking to a high school class was like "popping corn."- 1:00 Windows Media - 4MB / Realplayer - 6MB

EXCERPT - Can we capture energy from all the extra heat that's now in the atmosphere? - 1:11 Windows Media - 6MB / Realplayer - 6MB


Get the Facts :

A great new classroom resource: the HBO climate science documentary "Too Hot Not to Handle."