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UCI Science Project


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Worksheets
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Games
  • Presentation Slides
  • Videos
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, South and Central America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Polar Regions, California, Arizona


Google Docs, Google Slides, PDF, Microsoft Powerpoint

Empathetic Environmentalists

Ask a Question

  • In this five-lesson unit, students will learn about the causes and effects of climate change, relate it to their their local environment, and optionally share their findings with someone from a different culture or background to learn about empathy and respectful communication.
  • Students will go on a nature walk, interview a community member, research climate change's causes and effects, learn about inspirational youth activists, and create their own climate stories.
  • Students will look at images of locations in Arizona, Niger, and Jakarta to see the effects of human activities on the land, read short bios about youth activists in Argentina, Uganda, and Sweden to give students hope, and read a Los Angeles teen's story to inspire students' own climate stories.
Teaching Tips


  • These lessons will help students connect to and find common ground with people with different perspectives and backgrounds.
  • The internet research portion provides a set of reputable websites, allowing students to get relevant and accurate information.
  • The youth climate activists highlighted in Lesson 3 are inspirational students who show students what a difference young people can make.
  • Each lesson ends with a positive news story to leave students with a sense of hope.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Each lesson's activities will take multiple days to complete.
  • The blue words in some of the documents appear to be links, but the words aren't hyperlinked. Most of the referenced materials are in the Google Drive folder.
  • To participate in the Empatico cross-cultural exchange, teachers must sign up for an account and complete additional steps.


  • Some students may not have an adult in their life they feel comfortable interviewing. These students will benefit from having teachers available to interview.
  • If participating in the cross-cultural exchange, teachers can make geography connections by learning and researching more about the culture and region of the partner class.
  • Consider using resources about Indigenous communities from our site as a substitute for interviews, if needed.
  • Students in language arts classes can practice writing letters by writing to the students in the partner class or by writing a thank-you letter to their interviewee.
Scientist Notes
This lesson resources doesn't have specific science to review but it emphasizes the value of empathy and climate storytelling in addressing climate change. This is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Social Studies
    • U.S. History: America in the World - Civics, Government, and Human Rights
      • 6.1.8.CivicsPI.3.c: Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.
  • 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.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.AA.6.7 Trace the development of and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.PE.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • SL.II.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.WR.8.5 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • Related Resources


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