Lesson 4: What would you need to monitor the repercussions? 

NGSS Alignment:

  • MS-ESS3D: Global Climate Change

  • Science and Engineering Practice: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

  • Crosscutting concept: (2) Cause and Effect, (4) Systems and System Models

Teacher Guide: 


  • Do Now: If you were a scientist, how would you plan to monitor the current and future effects of climate change? If you were a climate smart farmer, how would your answer change? (write in journals). Hint- think about how your soil might be able to tell you something about the effects of climate change and what the impacts are on your land.

  • Mini Lesson: Intro to climate models, predictions of future impacts and monitoring/validation efforts. What indicators are important to farmers?

    • Key agricultural indicators: Yield, quality, supply/demand interface, water availability.

    • Forms of monitoring: Data tracking on farms, weather data and evolving climate predictions (from models), smart sensors and citizen science projects, farmer networks

    • Mix of technology and social validation (interviews, storytelling, farmer to farmer networks of communication)

    • Real life example of monitoring and improvement efforts: Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in California (SGMA). Read more about the grassroots implementation of the law in the January 2018 issue of the California Magazine. (High school: Have students pick an article to read and summarize for homework).

  • Activity 1: Walk around the school garden area. Look for indicators that might be useful in assessing the impact of climate change in farms and gardens (or schoolyards) and write them down. What species might be important indicators?

    • For reference or to use as an example: Climate Resilient Farm assessment tool- adapted from MESA Climate Resilience for Farmers online course.

  • Activity 2: Soil water holding capacity experiment. Take various soil samples from different parts of the garden or just outside/around the garden. Pour water through your samples in either pots that drain out the bottom, or other porous material to hold the samples (could be water bottles with hole poked in bottom). Which soils have better water holding capacity, and why do you think that is? How would you increase soil water holding capacity? (Add organic matter i.e. compost).

    • Option: do before/after compost application to notice if there is a significant improvement.

  • Close: garden work time and free journaling.