Topic outline

  • Welcome

    World map showing March 2020 temperatures anomolies

    Temperature anomalies in March 2020

    Source: March 2020 continues hot start to the year

    Thank you for visiting "Teaching Climate Change: Climate Change Science and Storytelling." In this self-paced course you'll find articles, videos, data, and other resources to help you understand climate change evidence, issues, teaching best practices and impacts, and explore personal connections. Some resources are specific to the Chesapeake Bay watershed region, but the majority will help educators from around the country.

    Climate change is one of the largest threats facing our planet. Each day we understand more about this complex topic, which can change how we share data and teach about climate change. Keeping up with this changing discussion can be daunting, which is where this course comes in! This course is not designed to be comprehensive. Rather, this course is designed to provide an overview of climate change, touch on some of the impacts, and share resources for you to learn more. We will continue to update this course with new information.

    Consider this course a primer. If you'd like to learn more about climate change, and maybe earn graduate credit, check out the sampling of Advanced Climate Change courses at the end of this course.

    Course Objectives:

    • Explain climate change basics including the history of climate science and evidence.
    • Explain the difference between weather and climate and the basics to climate and Earth systems science.
    • Connect human actions to the increase in carbon dioxide and how this increase is affecting our climate.
    • Examine climate justice issues.
    • Present some climate change impacts, responses, and solutions.
    • Create your climate data story.

    Please send any comments or feedback about this course to Krysta Hougen-Ryall at

    Estimated Time to Complete the Course: 15 hours

    After completing this course, you will see instructions on how to receive your certificate of completion and credits for Maryland (1 CPD), Delaware, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania (6 Act 48), Virginia, and West Virginia. Depending on your state and local guidelines, you may be able to use the certificate of completion to apply for credits in other states. It may take up to 2 weeks for your coursework to be reviewed and for you to receive your certificate.

    • Are you assigning Teaching Climate Change with your workshop, training or college course?

      Workshop, Training, or Course Instructors: We ask that all instructors review their participant's work in this course. Please contact Krysta Hougen-Ryall at to learn how.

      • Prepare for Instructions!

        Cartoon of a student pushing hard on a door when it says to "pull"

        You are about to dive into some instructions. We are always working on improving these instructions and making them as easy to follow as possible. Yes, there are a couple steps to follow and they are all necessary! 

        All these steps allow us to keep this course self-paced with a rolling enrollment. These instructions are to ensure your progress in this course and your submitted reflections are saved and, we are notified if and when you want your Climate Data Story and your work in this course reviewed to receive a Certificate of Completion.

        To make sure you don't become this student (pictured) - send any questions about taking this course to Krysta Hougen-Ryall at

        • Start Here!

          To save your progress and lesson reflections, 1) create an account in Chesapeake Exploration and 2) enroll in this course.

          Learn how by watching the videos. Click the expansion button within each video to watch it full screen; there is no sound. You can review the video transcripts and slides from the videos at your own pace by clicking into each video's page.

        • Required Pre-Assessment

          Thank you in advance for completing our assessments! This should take you no more than 10 minutes to complete. Results from this pre-assessment and the post-assessment at the end of the course are used to update and improve this course.

          You will need to do the following two things to make the Teaching Climate Change lessons appear below:

          1. Complete the pre-assessment HERE (a new window will open). The assessment is a google form. Make sure you click "Submit" within the google form before exiting the assessment and returning to this course homepage.

          2. Check the small grey box below and to the right to confirm you submitted the pre-assessment within the google form. After "checking" the box, your browser page should refresh (you may have to do this manually) and then the 5 sections of the course will appear below. DO NOT skip step 1! If you apply for a Certificate of Completion but we have not received your pre-assessment, you will be required to complete it before we review your course work.