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CER Writing, Climate Change


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts


55 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides

What's the Worst Impact of Climate Change in New Jersey?

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Sep 30, 2022


In this lesson, students learn about climate change, choose one impact of climate change affecting New Jersey, and write a claim-evidence-reasoning paragraph explaining why they believe it is the worst impact of climate change in New Jersey.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch a video on the basics of climate change.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students take notes while watching four videos on the impacts of climate change in New Jersey.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students select one of the impacts of climate change in New Jersey and write a paragraph explaining why they believe it is the worst impact of climate change.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
10 minutes
  • Teacher introduces the lesson:

    • The goal of this lesson is to write a 5-8 sentence paragraph. The paragraph will make a claim and be supported by evidence and reasoning.

    • The topic for the lesson will be climate change and its impacts in New Jersey.

    • Students open their own document where they will take notes on the videos.

  • Students watch Climate Change: How Does It Really Work? This video is a brief overview of climate change so students have some context and background information. Students do not take notes on the first video.
25 minutes
  • Students watch the four videos on ocean acidification, air quality, sea level rise, and public health. Videos are approximately 2-5 minutes each. Students take notes in their documents while they watch the videos. Students consider which topic they would like to write about as they watch.

  • Teacher explains how to write the paragraph.

  • Teacher explains how to write a claim sentence, sentences with supporting evidence, and a closing sentence.

  • Teacher shares the following tips:

    • Follow the color coding in the example paragraph.

    • The more hard facts in the supporting evidence sentences, the stronger the argument. Include events, places, names, dates, etc.

    • This shorthand for paragraph structure:

      • Say what you will say (claim sentence)

      • Say it (supporting evidence sentences)

      • Say what you said (closing sentence)

20 minutes
  • Students write their paragraphs in their own documents.

  • Teacher circulates among the students, helping them shape their paragraphs.

Teaching Tips


  • This lesson is terrific for teaching paragraph structure.

  • The color coding of the sentences in the paragraph is really helpful, especially for concrete thinkers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson shows some of the impacts of climate change. Some of these might be difficult to hear. Students may feel anger, sadness, anxiety, or grief after hearing about some of these devastating impacts. Encourage them to share their emotions.

  • There is, of course, no right answer to “What’s the worst impact of climate change?” These impacts of climate change are all catastrophic in their own right.

  • Encourage the students to use as many hard facts as possible in their supporting sentences. These include dates, names, places, and specific events.

  • You can use 2-3 videos of impacts of climate change if you do not want to use all of them.

  • Make sure students know that there are many other impacts of climate change aside from the four impacts in the four videos. Other impacts of climate change include extreme weather events, mass extinction, climate migration, etc. The goal of this lesson is to choose one of those four impacts of climate change.


  • Most students will benefit from color coding their sentences. Encourage them to keep their text highlighted as they write. They can even keep their paragraphs highlighted after they finish.

  • Weaker students may write only five sentences. Stronger students may expand more in their supporting sentences.

  • If students are struggling with their closing sentences, ask them to read their claim sentences aloud. Sometimes this helps guide their thinking.

  • Stronger students who finish early can read their paragraphs to one another, discuss the writing process, and discuss possible solutions to climate change.

Scientist Notes

This lesson illustrates the impacts of climate change in New Jersey. Five video resources are presented that provide background information, answer skepticism, and explore four key implications of climate change in New Jersey. The four climate impact videos are well-sourced and address local concerns with scientists from Rutgers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Students are tasked with deciding which is the worst impact of climate change and then writing a paragraph to support their claim. This lesson is recommended for teaching.

  • English Language Arts
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.


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