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Models, Uncertainty, and Climate Change from MIT’s TILclimate

Grade Level Grades 9-12, Higher Education, Adult Education
Resource Type Activity, Handout
Standards Alignment
State-specific

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Earth's climate system is enormously complex, and scientists develop climate models to understand how climate change will play out in different parts of the world. Students play a climate resilience game, and then explore the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report to learn more about how climate scientists handle uncertainty in models.

SWBAT

  • Understand that scientists use multiple models to predict the future of Earth’s climate.
  • Explain the importance of agreed-upon language for uncertainty.
  • Understand that specifics may be uncertain, even while the overall trend is very clear.

Skills

  • Graph reading
  • Close reading of scientific text
  • Group communication

Standards Alignment: 

  • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze the results from global climate models.
  • RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text.

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • ESS2.A Earth Materials and Systems
  • ESS2.D Weather and Climate
  • ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Standards

Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth's systems.
Determine the central ideas, themes, or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
Feedback effects exist within and among Earth’s systems.
The role of radiation from the sun and its interactions with the atmosphere, ocean, and land are the foundation for the global climate system. Global climate models are used to predict future changes, including changes influenced by human behavior and natural factors.
Sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources, including the development of technologies.

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