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ELIZABETH WATTS is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Research Group for
Biology Education in the Institute for Zoology and Evolutionary Biology at
Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Am Steiger 3, Bienenhaus, 07743 Jena,
Germany; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample Lesson Plan for Teaching Climate Change with a Risk Management Approach
Class objectives: At the end of class students will be able to identify ways that climate change can be mitigated
through preventative actions.
Connection to course goals: NGSS: HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
Anticipatory set: (Goal: Students should become acquainted with the idea of risk management)
• Open class discussion: Have students come up with things that they do to reduce the amount of risk in their life
or what is done around school.
• Suggestion: If students have trouble coming up with ideas, help them along by asking them how they reduce risk in
cars or to prevent damage from natural disasters. Students should then be able to come up with ideas: seat belts,
helmets, fire drills, insurance policies, ladders next to windows, earthquake-proofing, metal detectors, etc.
• See Table 2 in this article for help with ideas.
Introduction: (Goal: Students should begin to link the idea of risk management to climate science and become aware of
the role of scientists, government agencies, and private citizens in addressing the risks associated with climate change)
• Open class discussion: Get students to start thinking about the logic behind risk management, i.e., accessing risk and
potential damage and coming up with a plan to reduce the amount of possible damage. Possible start questions:
We talked about risk reduction. How realistic is it that there will be an earthquake or fire? Depending on where you
live, there are different degrees of likelihood. That is why earthquake proofing is more common (or even law) in
particular areas of California but not in other areas of the United States. Who is responsible for deciding what type of
risk management policies are necessary? Who should enforce these policies? Is it in our own interest to reduce the
risk posed by catastrophic events, even if the likelihood of them occurring is low?