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Probable Futures


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Ebooks

Regional Focus





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  • This resource explains Earth's changing climate, including historical data and approaching tipping points. 
  • Students will learn about the climate of the distant past and how the stabilizing climate that began thousands of years ago allowed for humans to build civilizations and grow in population. 
  • The basics of human-caused climate change are covered, as well as the unprecedented challenges associated with curtailing the fallout of fossil fuel usage. 
Teaching Tips


  • This article is an excellent primer on climate change. 
  • There is an option to listen to an audio recording of the article, which is an excellent choice for struggling readers or vision-impaired students. 
  • The included graphs are powerful visual reminders of how drastic climate change is and the incredible action needed to avoid tipping points. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Be sure to click through all eight slides of the graph, as the information included is incredibly beneficial for understanding. 
  • Students should be familiar with reading graphs. 


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made in history classes by discussing the time periods discussed in the article, or in civics by discussing the changes that need to be made on a global-level in order to slow temperature rise. 
  • This resource would be a great introduction in a climate science unit. It lends itself well to a whole-class discussion after reading. 
  • Other resources on this topic include this lesson about climate futures, this video about the history of climate science, and this lesson that details historical climate change.
Scientist Notes
The resource succintly explains the global carbon budget using paleoclimate data, it models climate scenarios and tipping points, and it also recommends the need for humans to limit activities that can emits CO2 to avert future climate risk and uncertain weather patterns. This resource is insightful and recommended for teaching.

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

  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.
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