Facing Calamity: An Inconvenient Sequel

Students explore human nature by studying the climate crisis and its causes and impact, and the role of government, businesses, and individuals in finding solutions.

Unit Summary

In this final 8th-grade unit, students will learn about one of the most urgent issues facing the planet today: climate change. While previous units have focused on historical events, this unit focuses students’ attention on a crisis unfolding all around them. While they will undoubtedly be familiar with the basic facts of climate change, this unit aims to provide students with some of the information and analytical tools needed to engage with this complex topic.

The core text of this unit is An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power by Al Gore. Gore’s 2006 film and book, An Inconvenient Truth, presented audiences with the current scientific research on climate change and sparked a worldwide conversation on the future of our planet. An Inconvenient Sequel is the 2017 follow-up, which includes the most up-to-date climate science with a significant focus on the way individuals can take action to combat the crisis. This text is supplemented with a number of nonfiction articles that provide students with even more information about the way climate change is currently impacting people around the world and what people are doing today to fight back against politicians and large corporations that are standing in the way of solving this crisis. Additionally, students will read several examples of cli-fi, an emerging genre of science fiction that imagines what our future might look like if we do not address climate change. 

Students will have the opportunity to use what they have learned about the current and potential impacts of climate change—as well as the narrative writing skills they have developed throughout the year—to write their own cli-fi stories. They will conclude the unit by taking action and writing a persuasive letter to their elected officials, drawing on the texts they have studied throughout the unit.

Subscribe to Fishtank Plus to unlock access to additional resources for this unit, including:

  • Unit Launch
  • Enhanced Lesson Plans
  • Student Handout Editor
  • Google Classroom Integration
  • Vocabulary Package
  • Fluency Package
  • Data Analysis Package
 

Texts and Materials

Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.

Core Materials

Supporting Materials

Assessment

This assessment accompanies Unit 5 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

?

  • Who is responsible for causing the climate crisis and who is responsible for solving it?
  • What is the relationship between the climate crisis and social, economic, and political power? 
  • How do scientists and fiction writers imagine the future if we do—and do not—address climate change?

Enduring Understandings

  • We are already seeing the impacts of climate change today, and things will only get catastrophically worse if we do not immediately address this crisis. 
  • People with less money and political power are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. 
  • The world’s slow response to climate change can at least partially be linked to the actions of large corporations that have benefited financially from ignoring the crisis. 
  • There is a growing movement of activists and artists who are speaking out about climate change and the dangers we face by not urgently addressing it.

Vocabulary

?

Text-based

avert consensus dire imperative incontrovertible mitigate peril plausible unequivocal unprecedented

Academic

allusion author's purpose central idea connotation figurative language imagery metaphor mood relevant evidence sufficient evidence theme tone

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 8th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Notes for Teachers

?

  • This unit is built on the following foundational premises:
    • Climate change is real.
    • Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing us today.
    • Climate change is caused by human activity.
    • Immediate action is needed to solve the climate crisis.
  • This unit does not present climate change science as a “debate” and does not include texts that feature the voices of climate change skeptics or deniers. Students will read texts that include facts agreed upon by the scientific community. While the above premises are not up for debate within this unit, students will have the opportunity to think critically about who should be held accountable for climate change and who is responsible for solving it. 
  • That said, students will undoubtedly be aware that there is a debate around climate change and that it has become something of a partisan issue. This unit may be controversial, depending on the community in which you teach, and you may experience pushback from administration, parents, and possibly from your students. Pages 228–237 of An Inconvenient Sequel are a useful resource for responding to climate skeptics.

Lesson Map

20

2 days

Assessment

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

?

L.8.2

L.8.2.a

L.8.2.b

L.8.4

L.8.4.a

L.8.4.c

L.8.4.d

RI.8.2

RI.8.4

RI.8.6

RI.8.8

RL.8.2

RL.8.4

RL.8.9

SL.8.1

SL.8.1.d

SL.8.3

SL.8.4

W.8.1

W.8.1.a

W.8.1.b

W.8.1.c

W.8.1.d

W.8.1.e

W.8.3

W.8.3.a

W.8.3.b

W.8.3.d

W.8.7

W.8.8

Supporting Standards

?

L.8.1

L.8.2.c

L.8.3

L.8.5

L.8.5.a

L.8.5.b

L.8.5.c

L.8.6

RI.8.1

RI.8.10

RI.8.3

RI.8.7

RI.8.9

RL.8.1

RL.8.10

SL.8.1.a

SL.8.1.b

SL.8.1.c

SL.8.6

W.8.10

W.8.2

W.8.2.a

W.8.2.b

W.8.2.d

W.8.2.f

W.8.3.c

W.8.3.e

W.8.4

W.8.5

W.8.6

W.8.9

W.8.9.a

W.8.9.b