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ESL Global Warming Lesson Plan

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Through this lesson plan, ESL students will engage in a variety of activities to learn more about global warming. This lesson includes hands-on learning, collaborative discussion and a performance task.

Learning Objectives

  • Define and explain global warming
  • Engage in a discussion about global warming


45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.4

Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


  • Soil/dirt
  • Thermometer
  • Two paper cups
  • Large glass jar
  • Poster boards, one per student
  • Markers


  • Global warming
  • Temperature
  • Atmosphere
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Ice caps


  • Write 'global warming' on the board. Point to the term and say it aloud. Have students repeat.
  • Explain to students that you are going to a conduct a science experiment as a class that is going to show how global warming works.
  • Fill the two paper cups with the soil. Label one cup '1' and the other cup '2.'
  • Put the thermometer in cup 2 and take both cups outside. Let them sit in the sun for least 10 minutes.
  • Take the temperature of cups 1 and 2. They should both be the same temperature.
  • Explain to students that the cups represent the Earth.
  • Put the thermometer in cup 2. Put the glass jar over cup 1. Wait for 10 minutes.
  • While you are waiting, explain to students that the glass jar represents greenhouse gases, which we have in our own atmosphere. Ask students to predict what will happen to the temperature of cup 1 after the 10 minutes is up. Discuss responses as a class.
  • Take the temperature of cups 1 and 2. Cup 1 should be much hotter than cup 2. Explain that this is because the greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere.
  • Explain how this is happening to our planet in real life. Discuss what causes greenhouse gases.
  • Ask:
    • If global warming continues to escalate, what do you think our planet will look like in the future?
    • What can we do to slow down global warming?

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