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Teach the Earth’s Climate System Through
Simulations (Earth-Like)


As a Middle or High School Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or Geography teacher, you can use this lesson plan to teach the Earth’s climate system and help your students understand different aspects of Earth’s climate using simulations. This lesson plan is based on the webbased tool ‘Earth-Like’ developed at the Earth- Life Science Institute, Japan.

This lesson plan introduces Earth’s climate system, an overview of the Earth-Like simulator, and provides a guided exercise that uses the simulator to help your students understand what are the main factors that determine the climate of planet Earth.

There are several factors that impact the surface temperature and the climate of the planet. These include the role of the sun and solar flux incident on the planet, the roles of the atmosphere and its greenhouse effect, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, the biosphere, the cryosphere, the anthroposphere, and their interactions on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. This lesson plan demonstrates the use of the Earth-Like simulation to explain select aspects of the Earth’s climate system.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to teach Climate Science and Climate Change in your Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Geography classrooms. This lesson plan is particularly effective to use in a flipped classroom and as a blended learning educational resource.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Learn about what determines the climate of planet Earth
  2. Understand the role of the sun and distance from the sun in determining the average surface temperature
  3. Understand the role of the role of volcanic degassing, weathering, and land surface fraction in Earth’s climate system
  4. Use simulators to understand the Earth’s climate system and climate change


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