Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

Climate Change and Resilience

Activity Source:

Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP). Created by the ESIP Education Committee using materials from Adapted with permission.

The United Nations advocates for 17 Sustainable Development Goals (, one of which includes taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Climate resilience is the capacity of a community, business, or natural environment to retain essential functions before, during, and after changes to climate occur.

Some ways to contribute to the resilience of your community include making choices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and starting or getting involved in projects that prepare a population or habitat for impacts of climate change. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit ( is a government site created to help people understand potential climate hazards so they can protect what is important to them.

In this activity, you will consider actions to make your community more resilient. You will use guidance from the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit along with a data-based tool to tackle a specific project of interest to your class. Planning and carrying out this community project is one action that you can take to help people move toward a more sustainable world.


For each student or team of students:

  • Computer with internet access


1. Go online to to read about how students in Mount Washington, Kentucky, designed a low-impact landscape to reduce stormwater runoff around a new county library. Summarize the students’ plan.

2. Go to to watch the “Steps to Resilience” video for an overview of an approach you can use to help address impacts of climate change.

3. With your teacher’s help, divide your class into teams of four to five students.

4. Watch the “Step 1: Explore Hazards” video at < hazards>. Identify what your community cares about. These include specific people, services, and places (such as neighborhoods, historic sites, schools, and tourist attractions) that make your community special or unique. These are called assets.

5. Go to to explore potential climate and extreme weather hazards using “The Climate Explorer” tutorial version.

  • Type in your city or county, then choose Climate Graphs. Explore the Observations, Modeled History, and projected scenario data for Lower Emissions and Higher Emissions.
  • Use the drop down menu at the top that is defaulted to Average Daily Maximum Temperature (°F) to switch and explore other variables.

6. Go to to use “Neighborhoods at Risk” to explore your community and identify neighborhoods where people might experience unequal impacts from hurricanes, flooding, and extreme heat.

7. Choose an asset that is being affected by a hazard that you can impact, such as a building, business, park, or road.

  • How is this asset being affected by a hazard?
  • Discuss with your team members how vulnerable and at riskyour asset is. For example, is there a roadway near a hospital that often floods during extreme rainfall events?

8. Come together as a class and select one teams’ asset-hazard pairing that will become the focus of your community project. Investigate options and consider potential solutions for your asset-hazard pairing. Develop a plan. Finally, if possible, implement that plan.

NGSS Connections

  • SEP: Defining Problems, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Designing Solutions
  • DCI: Global Climate Change; Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • CCC: Patterns, Cause and Effect

SDG Connections

  • 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 13: Climate Action