A good planet is hard to find: climate change, energy, and global sustainability

Jeanne L. Cooper, Earth Science, Mallard Creek High School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


Sustainability, global climate change, and energy consumption are increasingly in the forefront of the news. This curriculum unit introduces high school students to the challenges we face as a global society in trying to provide enough energy resources for our growing population while leaving the Earth in a condition where future generations can thrive. Energy is a concept that spans the sciences and applies to almost everything we do as a human race. Clarifying this concept is one goal of the curriculum unit. A second goal is to provide the students with the basic necessary information to begin to understand the immense challenges we face in making choices about energy resources. Providing enough energy for our projected population of 9 billion will require innovative ideas and international cooperation if we are to leave planet Earth in a condition that allows future life. Students are introduced to these challenges and invited to provide their own solutions. The exercises in this unit can be accomplished using the internet sources cited as well as common inexpensive materials. The unit has been designed to allow flexibility in modifying activities to meet the needs of Earth and Environmental Science courses at all high school levels.