This lesson was developed by Hanna Nielsen at the Coastal Ecosystems Institute, and it centers on a short animation called “Worse than Poop!”, created by filmmaker Vanessa Warheit.
Worse Than Poop! is an award-winning 6-minute film featuring an 8 year old climate “scientist”. It was released in 2014 and has screened at film festivals internationally. As Warheit puts it, “Worse than Poop!” focuses on the idea that “poop, like CO2, can be good - if you have the right amount to sustain the life cycle. But when you have a lot...that’s a problem.” By graphically illustrating the quantity of CO2 pollution created by gasoline-powered transportation, the film gives an overview of climate change and basic atmospheric chemistry, touches on the short and long carbon cycle, and introduces kids to the benefits of renewable energy sources and alternative transportation choices.
This lesson plan is designed for 6th grade, but the film is appropriate for grades k-8.
Subject Area: Earth and Human Activity: Climate Change
Next Generation Standards: MS-ESS3-1.