Activity Introduction

Earth-Hour-drought-dam-heroQuick summary: In this activity students look at how the climate in Australia and around the world has changed over time by creating a climate change timeline. Students work in three groups; one groups looks at historical changes to climate; another group looks at predicted future changes; and the third group creates the timeline and a class wide glossary on the topic.

earth-hour-160x160In 2017, WWF is celebrating 10 years of Earth Hour and 10 years of progress on changing climate change. Our actions on climate change will shape the future for our children. They know more about climate change than any other generation. And they have extraordinary views on what they want for their planet. You and your students can become a part of the movement and start to take action on climate change by visiting to register for Lights Out or find your local event. Take part and register for Earth Hour Schools Day on Friday the 24th March and don’t forget to switch off on Earth Hour, on Saturday 25th March 8:30-9:30pm. Switch off to #JoinTheFuture.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that the Earth’s climate has always been changing.
  • Students understand that changes in climate affect different parts of the world in different ways, and can have a big impact on the life that exists there.
  • Students recognise that changes in the Earth’s climate have been dramatic since the Industrial Revolution.
  • Students understand that science is used to tell us about our past and to make predictions about our future.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 10 Science

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • People can use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they should accept claims, explanations or predictions (ACSHE194)
  • Scientific understanding, including models and theories, are contestable and are refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE191)
  • Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS204)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS206)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Syllabus OutcomesSC5-12ES, SC5-13ES, SC5-7WS, SC5-8WS, SC5-9WS

Topic: Climate change

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activity

Resources required: Internet access, student worksheet, materials for creating timeline (paper, cardboard, pens/pencils, sticky tape).

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for extension or homework.

Keywords: Climate change, history, future, timeline, glossary.


Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goal: In this activity students understand that the Earth's climate has always been changing but that the changes in the Earth's climate have been. Students understand that changes in climate affect different parts of the world in different ways, and that science can be used to tell us about our past and to make predictions about our future.

Teacher content information: Earth Hour is a WWF-Australia initiative, which over the past 10 years has grown into the world’s largest community-driven campaign for the planet. At the centre of the campaign is the symbolic collective action of switching off the lights. Through this action, individuals, businesses, schools and communities join a visible statement of commitment to act on climate change. Participation remains a powerful reminder to our political leaders that there is ongoing concern and demand for the government to act on climate change.

This year Earth Hour is inviting kids around the coun

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What do we know about climate in the past and climate in the future?

Watch this clip about the history of climate change - what is the future for our climate?

A Brief History of Climate Changes

Group 1. Instructions for investigating changes to climate throughout the Earth's history

You will be looking at how the climate has changed throughout the course of the Earth's history until present day. This will include changes caused by natural events such as volcanic eruptions and naturally occurring increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It will also include more recent changes such as those that have occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

Record any information you find regarding significant changes in climate using the questions below to guide your research. The information you collect will be inserted into a timeline (constructed by Group 3) that will be displayed on the walls of the classroom.

You will also be providing Group 3 wit

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