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Lesson summary for:
Climate Models and Uncertainty


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Earth's climate system is enormously complex, and scientists develop climate models to understand how climate change will play out in different parts of the world. Students play a climate resilience game, and then explore the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report to learn more about how climate scientists handle uncertainty in models.

MIT Climate Portal


Earth science

up to 2 hours

Teaching tips:
The podcast portion can be assigned as outside-of-class listening for flipped classrooms.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Because it has been tested, scientific knowledge is reliable. (NOS3)

  • The process of science involves observation, exploration, testing, communication, and application.

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)

  • Scientists look for patterns in their observations and data. (P4, P5, NOS2)

  • Scientific knowledge informs public policies and regulations that promote our health, safety, and environmental stewardship.

  • Problem-solving and decision-making benefit from a scientific approach.

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