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MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Podcasts, 12 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Worksheets
  • Articles and Websites
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus



Google Docs, PDF

Methane and Climate Change

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  • This lesson plan describes the powerful greenhouse effect of methane, details its natural and human-generated sources, and discusses solutions to address these emissions.
  • Students will listen to a podcast, complete a jigsaw activity using a reading about methane sources, and compare and contrast two articles about tracking fugitive methane emissions.
Teaching Tips


  • The guide provides all materials required to teach the lesson, including student pages, so there is minimal prep for teachers.
  • Students have numerous opportunities to practice reading and analyzing graphs, charts, and infographics.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should already have a basic understanding of the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, and how this contributes to climate change.


  • The lesson includes multiple chances for students to work with partners or small groups. Teachers can intentionally group students by ability level to better facilitate support.
  • English Language Arts classes can use these activities to practice reading comprehension of scientific texts and comparing and contrasting nonfiction articles.
  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with chemistry and physical science classes by further discussing the structure and properties of methane that contribute to its heat-trapping ability.
Scientist Notes
While there are reasonably differing estimates in the comparison of methane to carbon dioxide, it is decidedly a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Limiting its release into the atmosphere is vital to curbing global warming. This resource is recommended for teaching.

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

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  • Related Resources


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