Climate Change and T-GEM

As Khan (2007) states, model-based learning is a theory that allows students to learn from critiquing, building, and changing our way of thinking on how the world works. One of the big ideas from BC’s grade 6 science curriculum, is: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time. To investigate the challenging concept of how climate has changed and the repercussions it has on earth, the T-GEM model will be used to support student inquiry while using climate simulations and guided teacher strategies.

A possible T-GEM model could be:

Generate: Using the following link, students will use the simulator to view before and after images of cities, extreme events, water, land cover, human impact and ice. Students will analyze what they notice.  Are there any patterns? What relationships do you see with water and ice? Record your observations.

Evaluate : Students will be presented with different facts and figures that have been written about climate change using the following link. Ask students to explain in groups. Is this fact? Fiction? How do you know? Find new reports on climate change.

Modify : Students will review their findings and summarize their conclusion to the class in small groups. Why is our global climate changing? What will happen in the future if we don’t take action? How can we take action as a society? List the ways we can help climate change.


Khan, S. (2007). Model‐based inquiries in chemistry. Science Education91(6), 877-905.


  1. Hi Sean

    I like the fact that you are using an issue that is affecting us right now and we can find items in the news all the time. For example today “Scientists say massive iceberg has broken off in Antarctica

    This Nov. 10, 2016 aerial photo released by NASA, shows a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf. A vast iceberg with twice the volume of Lake Erie has broken off from a key floating ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists said Wednesday July 12, 2017 . The iceberg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf, scientists at the University of Swansea in Britain said. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, is described as weighing 1 trillion tons (1.12 trillion U.S. tons).(John Sonntag/NASA via AP)

    I wonder if the small group discussions are helpful. How do you make sure everyone is engaged?

    A good next step might be to have students create a world map that links to news items that show climate change.


    1. That’s a great idea Christopher. Under “Evaluate” where I’ve stated that students need to report and find new climate change events, I could have them create a world map that links to these new events. How do I know and make sure everyone is engaged during small group discussion? I could circulate around to each group and/or have a self/group evaluation form where the students rate themselves and each other when it comes to group participation.

  2. Hi Sean
    I agree with Christopher that bringing current social/environmental issues into a classroom is a great idea. It will help students relate to the topic in meaningful ways and make the class more engaging. Another activity in the Evaluate phase might be to ask students to investigate/scrap climate change-related news/events and to have a classroom discussion.


  3. Hi Sean,

    I liked what you were able to create for your Grade 6 class using the T-GEM structure. Another way that you could have students share their understandings of the before/after pictures as well as during the ‘modify’ stage is to have students use a tool such as Explain Everything. Sometimes being able to take the time to create a visual to aid in the explanation process helps students to gain a deeper understanding. The Explain Everything app is very easy to use and students generally love it!

    1. Thanks Kirsten,
      I’ve heard of this app before but never took the time to figure it out. I will now for future use.

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