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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Type

  • Videos, 13 minutes, 53 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

What Will Earth Look Like When These 6 Tipping Points Hit?

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  • This resource highlights six tipping points in the Earth's climate system, focusing on models showing the extreme ways the Earth could change with just a bit more warming.
  • Students will learn about the Greenland ice sheet, AMOC, monsoons, the Amazon Rainforest, Antarctic ice sheets, permafrost, and coral reefs and will see how the Earth would fundamentally change if we crossed multiple tipping points.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource organizes the tipping points into sections to help with comprehension.
  • This video ends on a hopeful note, providing an idea for mitigating the impacts of tipping points.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video contains two ads and promotional material at the end.
  • Since tipping points can be an emotional and difficult topic to discuss, prepare ways to help students talk about their feelings, including ideas for how they can take personal action.


  • Provide students with a graphic organizer to help students take organized notes on each of the tipping points addressed.
  • In order to further understand the dire threats posed to coral reefs, have students watch this other video and discuss in groups what bold action is necessary to save the coral reefs.
  • To provide background knowledge on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (incorrectly referred to as the "International" Panel on Climate Change in the video), have students read this graphic novel and then discuss how we can be so sure about what we know about climate change.
  • To extend learning about tipping points, have students watch this video which simplifies ecological tipping points or watch this animated video about mathematical tipping points.
  • Consider having students listen to this podcast that addresses tipping points and what younger generations can do to fight climate change, and then work in groups to plan ways to take personal action and action within their own communities.
Scientist Notes
This is a 14-minute video that highlights 6 tipping points in the Earth's climate system. Warming temperatures and extreme weather conditions are accelerating climate change and impacting every region of the Earth, including the Arctic, Antarctic, permafrost, Amazon Rainforest, the tropics, the oceans, etc. The climate system is complex and it requires urgent action to limit greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the planet reaching all the tipping points, "a point of no return". All facts have been verified and they are suitable for this topic. However, please note that at 1:20 minutes of the video, the correct term is Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and not "International". Besides this, the resource is recommended for teaching.

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

  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
      • 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
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.ES.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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