Changing Climate, Changing Cities: A Virtual Field Trip from Phoenix to Shenzhen

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Remember when climate change was some distant threat that we had years or decades to prepare for? Well, not any longer. It’s here now. And it’s just warming up—particularly if we don’t do more to curb it.

Get your 3rd-8th grade students a front-row, ground-level seat to the challenges cities face as they confront this force of nature, the solutions experts are promoting to mitigate it, and the hands-on role your students can play today as the next generation of environmental stewards.

Take a virtual trip to Phoenix, Arizona and Shenzhen, China to learn from community members and local experts about how climate change is affecting us now. Today. In our everyday lives.

It’s so hot in Phoenix, some residents have baked cookies in their cars. By the end of August 2020, the desert city had recorded 50 days of temperatures exceeding 110 degrees, scorching the previous record of 33 days in 2011. Phoenix isn’t the only city experiencing the tangible effects of a changing climate. Urban centers around the world are feeling the heat. Shenzhen, China, for example, is facing historic flooding that is linked to climate change. But it’s not alone. Flooding in China’s cities has doubled in just the past decade or so. Worldwide, still more cities are vulnerable to stronger hurricanes or to the effects of drought and other natural forces—all coming at us more frequently and with more fury.

Using this new Virtual Field Trip video and Teacher’s Guide, students will:

  • learn the difference between climate and weather.
  • understand why—with 90 percent of the world's large cities located near coasts and more than half the world’s population living in cities today—urban centers are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and other climate-related risks.
  • learn about heat islands and what it means to “green” their city or town.
  • discover what they can do individually or collectively with their families or classmates to reduce carbon emissions and keep the earth’s temperature low.

Keywords: climate change, Phoenix, Shenzhen, urban, green infrastructure, flooding, sustainability, resilience, heat island

Lesson Plan Resources

Lesson Plan
Video
Video Guide
Vocabulary
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