5th Graders Study Climate Change at Museum of Natural History


rising seas Thursday, a day that started out at 60 degrees and ended in the 30s, seemed quite fitting to board the 86 bus headed to the Harvard Museum of Natural History for the museum’s Climate Change program!


In a classroom tucked behind the Mammal Hall, a museum educator led an interactive lecture to answer the question: How do we know our climate is changing? Fifth graders held and examined the rings of trees, rocks scraped by glaciers, and petrified wood- clues that scientists use to understand how our climate changed in the past and left marks of the transformation in the land. They looked at maps of carbon dioxide and temperature levels. They synthesized this evidence with their learning as ambassadors in the First Annual 5thGrade Climate Change Summit in December.


bullfrogStudents also thought about why climate change matters to animals. They met a live African Bullfrog, an animal that uses its back legs to dig instead of jump. It digs down into the arid soil to avoid the hot African sun, sometimes hibernating for years! Students considered how climate change could affect the bullfrog and other animals, including humans, some that can and some that cannot move to new locations in search of the climate that suits them.


Urged by the museum educator, students gave themselves a pat on the back, knowing that they had added so much to the presentation by sharing their knowledge, connections, and questions. Students returned to the classroom eager to continue their exploration of the science behind climate change in discussions, an activity and a lab next week.


Want to learn more about climate change with your kids? Check out the events this weekend at the Brookline Climate Change Week,  www.brooklineclimateweek.org.