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ESL Discussion Questions About Global Warming

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will learn about the importance of providing English as a Second Language (ESL) students with information about global warming. A list of discussion questions about the causes and effects of global warming, as well as possible solutions, will be included.

Global Warming

Global warming, or climate change, refers to the trapping of gases in the Earth's atmosphere. These heat-trapped gases cause the Earth's temperatures to increase over time, which leads to environmental consequences such as rising sea levels and severe weather.

Stories about strong hurricanes, severe flooding, and melting polar ice caps are so common in the media that they are hard to avoid. Science textbooks are including more and more information about the causes and effects of global warming.

Help prepare your ELL students for comprehension of this complex topic by using discussion questions. Students can answer questions individually as journal prompts, work with a partner, or collaborate in small groups to engage in meaningful dialogue about global warming.

Here are some sample questions you can use to facilitate these discussions:

Questions About the Causes of Global Warming

  • What are 'greenhouse gases?'
  • Which country do you think produces the most greenhouse gases?
  • How do gases get trapped in the Earth's atmosphere?
  • What everyday activities contribute to global warming?
  • Do you think humans are responsible for causing global warming?
  • What kinds of pollution contribute to global warming?
  • What is 'deforestation,' and how does it contribute to global warming?
  • What human action do you think most contributes to global warming?
  • What is meant by the phrase 'carbon footprint?' If you don't know, what do you think it means?
  • How does factory farming contribute to global warming?
  • How do human spending and consumption contribute to global warming?

Questions About the Effects of Global Warming

  • What are three possible effects of global warming?
  • What is one effect of global warming that you have personally experienced?
  • Which effect of global warming do you think is the biggest threat to mankind?
  • Which cities in America are most threatened by rising sea levels?
  • How does global warming contribute to severe weather patterns?
  • In 20 years, how do you think the Earth will be impacted by global warming?
  • What are the effects of melting polar ice caps?
  • How are animals affected by global warming?
  • Which animal ecosystems are most threatened by the effects of global warming?

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