Lesson Plans

2019 Humanities and the Sunshine State: Teaching Florida’s Climates

The 2019 Teaching Florida’s Climates Educators were asked to create a final Action Plan detailing how they would take the workshop expenses “back to the classroom.” These Action Plans could take one of two forms: (1) Action Plans detailing strategies to incorporate teaching of Florida’s Climates amidst other curricula, or a (2) Lesson Plan outlining a specific lesson that draws on the workshop material.

We invite other educators to utilize these ideas in their classrooms, but ask that proper attribution is given to the original author.


Gary Carlson, Ridgeview Global Studies Academy, 9th grade Science

Carlson Action Plan

In this series of lessons, students will use the Chronicling America website to explore public conversations during times of major scientific discoveries. For example, students may look to newspapers from the time of Charles Darwin’s life or during the time of James Watson and Francis Crick to examine neighboring historical events and assess the dominant themes in public conversation during these time periods.


Kelli Carter, Lauren Nokomis School, K-5 Science

Carter Action Plan

In these lessons, students will explore Florida turpentine history and oral history to understand the use of significant Florida’s resources such as water, phosphate, oil, and limestone, and examine their connection to Florida history. Students may also learn about natural Florida resources and their human uses by drawing on the findings and history of the Shell Mound archaeological site.


Dr. Tina Cash, Plantation Key School, K-8 Media

Cash Action Plan

These lessons range in content from incorporating political cartoons into lesson plans, to drawing from the Chronicling America website for historical examples that deal with climate change. Another idea introduces climate change by way of humans’ experiences during the so-called 1300-1870 “Little Ice Age” to introduce the idea of climate variation and how to mitigate contemporary impacts of climate variation today.


Kimberly Casselman, Markham Woods Middle School, 6th-8th Comprehensive Science and Physics

Casselman Action Plan

These lessons provide the framework for students to create an “Energy Conservation Club” to promote the reduction of energy consumption and to help students identify alternative energies. The goal of this effort is to help students recognize the impacts of human actions on the environment. Learning goals would seek to incorporate the Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy to demonstrate interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. This would also help students achieve an understanding of how political, social, and economic concerns may affect science and vice versa.


Barbara Colpas and Michelle Valentine, Eagle Ridge Elementary School, 4th and 5th Grade Science and Language Arts/Florida History

Culpas and Valentine Action Plan: How Does Water Affect My Community?

This collaborative lesson is framed by the concept of “informed optimism” to encourage students to make connections between historical/political events and environmental concerns. Students will identify historical events that impacted the flow of water in Florida through the Everglades. They will determine the positive and negative impacts of climate change through these time periods. They may look at issues such as past hurricanes, canal dredging, land development, agriculture, etc. They will also incorporate oral histories from elders, leaders, and natives from their communities to better understand these selected issues.


Denyse Cohen, Fruit Cove Middle School, Middle School Art

D. Cohen Action Plan

In these lessons, students will learn about the Shell Mound archaeological site, ritual activities it hosted, and the native peoples who once inhabited the area before creating their own clay vessels. Students will use their pieces to illustrate a meaningful event they have observed in their community or with their family. Students will also read the chapter titled “Who Owns a Creek” from Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s Cross Creek before creating a visual narrative (comic/vine) or a poem which considers questions of land use and conservation.


Elaine Cohen, Nova Southeastern University, Lifelong Learning

E. Cohen Action Plan

These lessons incorporate biographies to relay important historical events/concepts. Learners will learn about the “war” between John Muir and Gifford Pinchot to understand differences between conservation and preservation. Learners may also be asked to document and create their own oral histories by interviewing one another or collaborating with high school/college students to conduct interviews with them.


Heather Deitchman-Levy, American Learning Systems, 9th Grade English and Writing

Deitchman-Levy Action Plan

In this lesson, students will read Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth set in rural agricultural China before answering questions designed to help students consider the relationship between weather events and human migration. Students will then be asked to consider the short and long-term effects of climate change-related migration, as well at the difference between weather-related migration and climate migration. Online articles about climate change will also be used to teach media bias and professional research citation practices.


Sean Dolan, Lake Placid High, Counseling, 9th-12th

Dolan Action Plan: Identifying Environmental/Green Employment of the Future

This lesson seeks to engage students with sustainability-oriented service opportunities so they may recognize the various groups which participate in a green economy. It will aid their career development and promote personal and social development while also encouraging stronger community involvement and good citizenship. Students will brainstorm green jobs of the future, research them, and determine how to incorporate these into a future economy.


Dr. Gina Elia, North Broward Preparatory School, ESL; Mandarin 9th-12th

Elia Action Plan

In these lessons, students will learn about interactions between people and their environments in Florida through the short stories of Florida writer, Lauren Groff. They may also have students use oral history techniques to interview each other and connect students across ethnic and international boundaries. s to interview one another.


Christiane Gunn, Charles W. Flanagan High School, World History and Honors World History

Gunn Action Plan: Florida Environmental Awareness in World History Class

In this lesson, students will be paired together. One will be given the task of finding a news article that is in favor of environmental awareness/change regarding a particular topic (e.g., rising sea levels, renewable energy), and the other will find one that does not consider climate change to be an issue of major concern regarding that topic. They will take notes and share arguments from each side of the issue before sharing them. They will then be given five minutes to debate their issue in front of the class.


Cathy Hammel, Frostproof Middle Senior High School, 6th Grade Science

Hammel Action Plan

In these lessons, students will learn about the positive impacts of weather events on Florida springs by way of either digital or non-digital diagrams. They will investigate how the cycling of water between the atmosphere and hydrosphere causes particular weather patterns. They may also analyze and illustrate how Florida’s springs connect to the various spheres using cartoons and graphic organizing maps.


Dr. Amanda Heinemann and Vindri Gajadhar; iPreparatory Academy, 6th-8th Grade Science; Jesuit High School of Tampa, AP Human Geography

Heinemann and Vin Action Plan

These lesson plans incorporate question formulation, habitat research, oral history, and Socratic seminar techniques to guide students through ways of examining the lived experiences of climate change in Florida. In one plan, students will view images of Cedar Key from the past and shape questions from those images. They can speculate about what they think caused the area to change before learning about the history of Cedar Key’s port and the influence of the railroad. This can be used to facilitate discussion around migration.


Melissa Henkel, Florida Virtual School, 6th-8th Grade Comprehensive Science

Henkel Action Plan: Optimism in the Face of Climate Change

In this lesson plan, students will be given a chance to share personal examples of events in their lives with both positive and negative outcomes. This will lead into a discussion about the Industrial Revolution to understand the unforeseen consequences of the event. They will then review the greenhouse effect and global warming. Lastly, they will determine a simple way in which they could help reduce CO2 emissions and one benefit of this action.


Kathy Hockman, Middleton High School, AP Environmental Science and Earth & Space Science

Hockman Action Plan

These lessons emphasize ways to connect students with natural outdoor locations, and to proactively engage with debates around human responsibility for environmental degradation. In one lesson entitled “The Courage of Your Convictions,” students will be explore environmental organizations that they could get involved with, and share ideas about ways they could incorporate classroom learnings into their own schools or communities.


Janet Jacupke, Brevard Group Treatment Home, 5th – 9th Grade Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies

Jacupke Action Plan: Climate Change Awareness – A Civic Responsibility

In this lesson, students learn about climate change as an anthropogenic event using graphs that document carbon emissions. They will then share personal experiences and brainstorm concepts around that change to determine their personal connection to climate change.

Action Plans

In these lessons, students explore different ways to make the concept of climate change tangible and real. These lessons include “Climate Change Vocabulary,” where students engage in a short story writing exercise on topics such as “The Lost City of Miami” or “Spring Break in Orlando Beach.”


Pakita Leone, St. Petersburg High School, 11th Grade English/Language Arts

Leone Action Plan: It Starts with One

Students will be given the option to either agree or disagree with whether climate change is happening. They would then play “climate change bingo” before being shown lyrics to “One” by Ane Brun. After that, they would be asked to compose a first person narrative about one of the items they checked during the bingo game. They would engage in selected readings from Walden Pond and Cross Creek before also reading The Eighth Wonder and Their Eyes Were Watching God to compare the differences between the experiences of privileged and marginalized populations with climate change.

Leone Ideas Template

Additional lesson ideas include enriching an existing Tribal Cultures group research project to examine how indigenous peoples actively work to preserve their cultures and their environments, and building a Sustainable FloridiansSM Club.


Maddie McClinton, Stephen Foster Elementary School, 4th Grade Social Studies

McClinton Action Plan: Florida’s Early Inhabitants and Shell Mounds

Students will learn about the ways that early inhabitants of Florida altered the landscape to meet their needs. They will shape questions after viewing images from shell mounds at places such as Fort George Island and Cedar Key. They will also learn about these sites through images of archaeological findings from Cedar Key.


Dr. Hope Myers, The Benjamin School, Economics and Business, 10th grade Government

Myers Action Plan

High school business students would plant a tree for kindergarten students. They would then teach the kindergarten students how to measure their tree and how to determine its carbon containment. Those students will be invited back in following years to track the tree’s growth and its carbon sequestration. It will be repeated annually to encourage “slow thinking.”


Joshua O’Leary, Marine Science Station, 4th, 7th, and High School Environmental Science

OLeary Action Plan

These lessons teach students about the significance of local shell mounds by teaching them about their structure and how they aligns with the rise of the summer solstice and how specific islands were used for burials. Students will use these examples to gain a better understanding of how native Floridians shaped their local environments and practiced resource management.


Marilynn Pedek Howard, Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts, 11th – 12th Grade AP Environmental Science

Pedek Howard Action Plan: Exploring the Effects of Climate Change in West Palm Beach Through the Use of Photographs

Students will select a historical photo from either FloridaMemory.com, the Palm Beach Post, or a family member/friend. They will they explain their choice before taking a picture of that same spot. They will then share their images with classmates and have them make observations about how spaces in those photos have changed. They will then analyze their differences before determining how one change relates to climate change.


Amber Prinkey, Palm Beach Zoo, K-12 Habitats, Adaptations, Behavior, Rainforest, Florida

Prinkey Action Plan

In this series of lessons, students will be given six images of animals and six different climate change impacts. They students will then be placed into groups and will be given the assignment of matching the climate impact to the correct animal. Students may also be assigned a given part of the food chain. They would then draw it on a puzzle piece before connecting those pieces together to make a food web.


Martha Warwick, Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts, 10th Grade English, 9th Grade AICE English

Warwick Action Plan: Don’t Believe in Climate Change? Well, How About Protecting the Environment?

In this lesson, students will learn about differences between weather and climate, while simultaneously learning about visual and written rhetorical strategies through analyzing political cartoons and other texts. They will be given the task of evaluating arguments both for and against climate change before collaborating with their group members to create their own unique public service announcements.


Jessica Westfall, Heather da Silva, and Denyse Cohen – Maynard Evans High School, West Shore Jr./Sr. High School, Fruit Cove Middle School, 6-8th Grade Science, Language Arts, and 2D Art

Westfall Action Plan: Exploring the Ecosystems of Cross Creek

In this collaborative interdisciplinary lesson, students will do a close reading of passages from Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. After an introduction to food webs, students will draw food chains or webs found historically in the Cross Creek ecosystem, compare these to modern ecosystem communities in Cross Creek to discuss climate change, and engage in 2D drawings of organisms in these ecosystems.


Edmund Young, Heritage Middle School, 6th-8th Grade EBD Learning Strategies, Science and Language Arts

Young Action Plan

In these lessons, students will participate in an activity where they identify problems at their school, which they will then share during a speed-dating activity. On day two of this activity, they will identify problems in the communities surrounding their school. Afterwards, they will share those problems in a similar “speed-dating” style. On day three, they will identify environmental problems, list and rank solutions to those problems in order of their effectiveness, and justify implementation of at least two of those solutions.