1-2 Activity 1: Stepping through Climate Science


This short introductory activity presents climate change by engaging students in creating a timeline of climate science and policy initiatives over the past two centuries. Students also begin to explore connections between climate, climate change, and forest ecosystems and discuss mitigation and adaptation strategies being implemented by the U.S. Forest Service to address climate change in national forests.


Full Activity (with student pages included)

Student Pages 

Answer Key

Supporting Materials


You can find more related websites at the end of Activity 1 or check out the Additional Resources for the entire module.

  • Climate ChangeLIVE – A U.S. Forest Service program that offers webcasts, webinars, and other climate education resources.
  • Climate Change Timeline – A timeline from the Outrider Foundation that describes the science behind the discovery of climate change, and the policies and movements in response.
  • Climate Connections Special Series – A National Public Radio special series with videos, articles, and interactive maps to look at the causes and signs of climate change, along with stories about solutions and adaptation.
  • Climate Literacy Guidelines: The Essential Principles of Climate Science – A guide for individuals and communities to learn about and understand climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches to mitigation and adaptation.
  • Climate Voices – A database of experts from around the country who bring nonpolitical conversations about the research findings of climate scientists to citizens across the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • NASA, Global Climate Change – Information on the evidence, causes, effects, and uncertainties of climate change from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • NOAA, Climate.gov – Information, maps, educational resources, and videos about climate science and climate change from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • U.S. EPA Climate Change Information – Easy to understand information on the science behind global climate change, an award-winning kid’s site, and carbon and water footprint calculators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • U.S. Forest Service, Climate Change Resource Center – Information, videos, case studies, and other resources to explore basic climate science and forest adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Teacher Comments

This activity is student friendly and a nice introduction to climate change.
Environmental Science Teacher, Virginia
The opportunity to step out the change in carbon dioxide levels was a great visual. I used this activity as an opener for our forestry unit.
AP Environmental Science Teacher, Florida
This activity not only introduces climate change, but also reviews how scientific evidence from different sources over time leads to new discoveries and further research. This evidence can also create new governmental policy or change outdated policy.
AP Environmental Science Teacher, Florida
The discussions on climate science we had in class were powerful. Lots of debating on the position of science vs. government vs. stakeholders. I think this activity got them thinking and evaluating current climate science research and legislation.
IB Biology II Teacher, Florida
This was my favorite activity by far!!!! I will use this every year and can add to it. It is a great way to get all thoughts on climate change out and learn the facts associated with the history. Love, love, love this one!!!
Environmental Science Teacher, South Carolina
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