Here you will find a variety of free climate related resources including lesson plans, one-page information sheets, videos of science talks, short activities and kits.

What climate science resources do you wish existed? Please share your feedback and ideas!

Activities & Lesson Plans from Extended University

Scat, Transects, and Changing of Season

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
Students investigate elk scat (represented by colored candies) to understand the effects of climate change on grassland phenology (the timing of when the grass turns green) and elk migration.

Sharing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
Through an active strategy game, students will experience the frustrations of trying to balance the needs of wildlife conservation, ranchers, home developers, and wildlife conservationists in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. (Teachers could substitute another ecosystem with which they are familiar). Participants will also discuss possible solutions for accommodating all stakeholders.

Colony Collapse: What Makes Bees Sick?

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
Honey bees are the primary pollinator of the United States’ food supply, and many Montana beekeepers transport their bees throughout the U.S. to pollinate crops such as almonds. Honey bees live in large family groups called colonies. When these colonies get sick, they can die, or “collapse.” Unfortunately, nearly 30% of colonies collapse each winter in the U.S.

How Do Scientists Collect Data? Sampling Activity

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
A common difficulty in scientific research is sampling. A sample is something that is collected from a larger population. A population can be so large, and sometimes spread out, that counting it would be like trying to count the number of grains of sand on a beach. To get around these problems, scientists take data from a smaller portion of the population. Samples are then used to make inferences about the entire population.

Exploring Ecosystems

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
Explore the ecosystems of Montana alongside researchers from the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and enhance your students’ understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This unit parallels research that is being done in Montana and the Rocky Mountain region and includes five hands-on lessons. Filled with inquiry-based activities, these lessons will guide you and your students through the biodiversity of various ecosystems while applying wildlife ecology research techniques to your own local schoolyard.

What is Climate and How Big is It?

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
This lesson reviews the difference between weather and climate and asks students to search for microclimates in their schoolyard using thermal temperature guns. Students will learn that climate zones can be very large or incredibly small.

Ultraviolet Light-Detecting Beads

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
Use these beads as a quick supplemental activity when studying the sun, light waves or climate. UV beads are popular with every- one from small children to adults because they seem to magically change from white to different colors. Simply place them into sunlight or under a UV ashlight or “black light” to watch them change colors. If some do not appear to change it’s because they are glow-in-the-dark beads.

Aerosols and Their Impact on Climate

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems
This activity introduces students to global dimming. They should have an understanding of the atmosphere, solar radiation, and global warming (greenhouse gases). This lesson provides students with experiences that support their readiness to demonstrate mastery of NGSS Performance Standards.

Science Montana

   Montana State University Academic Technology & Outreach
Science Montana seeks to connect Montanans more closely with the science happening in our state. This website is a portal for Montana-related science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational resources. Discover materials ranging from lesson plans to videos using the search feature on this website. These materials were all created by the Montana University System or are relevant to Montana in some way.


   Montana State University Academic Technology & Outreach
Information about climate and the impacts of climate change on Montana from the US Global Change Research Program, the US Climate Science Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and EPA's Climate Change Indicators in the United States.

What is the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

   MSU Science Zone Fact Sheet
Look outside. Is it sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, or snowing? What happens outside each day is weather. Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. To find out the climate of a certain place you have to look at how often it is sunny, rainy, windy, cold and hot. Yet, it is much more difficult to figure out why a place has that climate.

Multimedia Resources from Extended University

Climate Science Resources for Teachers Webinar

      Montana State University Academic Technology & Outreach, MT Institute on Ecosystems
In May 2017, MSU Extended University and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems (IoE) presented this webinar for an overview of climate science resources available to Montana educators. K-12 teachers and out-of-school educators learned about the Montana Climate Assessment (scheduled for release in August 2017) and the CLiMB (Climate In My Backyard) educational outreach program that can help teachers bring climate science into the classroom.

Montana's Changing Climate Webinar

      Montana State University Academic Technology & Outreach, MT Institute on Ecosystems
In Winter 2017, four authors of the Montana Climate Assessment presented an interactive distance learning class focused on key aspects of Montana’s climate–agriculture, forests and water resources. They also presented on the assessment itself, which will describe past and future climate trends that affect different sectors of the State’s economy.

Social Media Resources from Extended University

Download FREE Social Media Graphics

   Montana State University Academic Technology & Outreach
To help spread this message, we have developed a series of graphics which explain that there is scientific consensus on climate change. These graphics are available for free download and can be used as Facebook covers or posts, PowerPoint slides or Twitter posts.

Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheets

Click on "How to Use" for classroom activity ideas using these fact sheets.

Montana's Climate

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheet
The climate in Montana is as diverse as the mountains and plains that define its landscapes and regions. It is also incredibly complex.

It's Raining, It's Snowing, but Where is it all Going?

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheet
AS A HEADWATERS STATE, Montana’s rivers flow to three oceans. So when rain or snow falls in Montana, where it ends up is of local, national, and global consequence. But the ultimate destination of our snowflakes and raindrops is influenced by many soil and ecosystem properties.

What is an Ecosystem?

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheet
An ecosystem, simply defined, is a community of all the living and non-living things in a specific geographic area. An ecosystem can be small, such as the area under a pine tree or a single hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, or it can be large, such as the Rocky Mountains, the rainforest or the Antarctic Ocean.

What's Underfoot in Montana?

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheet
SOILS ARE COMPLEX MIXTURES of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and countless organisms—the decay- ing remains of once-living things. There are different types of soil, each with its own set of char- acteristics. Dig down deep into any soil, and you’ll see that it is made of layers, or horizons. Put the soil horizons together, and they form a soil profile. Like a biography, each profile tells a story about the life of that soil.

Microbes Run the World

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheet
Microbes are living organisms smaller than the eye can see. Microbes such as bacteria and fungi are the oldest form of life on Earth and they have an enormous impact on the planet. Found in every single ecosystem from the polar ice caps to the deepest cave, microbes control global cycles and ecological processes.

Really Big Impacts of Very Small Things

   Montana Institute on Ecosystems Fact Sheet
The most significant tree killers on earth, mountain pine beetles, have killed more than 42 million acres of trees in Canada alone. The combination of beetles, fungi, and climate sets the stage for massive outbreaks.

Other Resources

53 Sources for Climate Change News

   Milken Institute School of Public Health
Whether you’re a scholar or someone with limited knowledge of climate change, determining which resources cover climate change in a meaningful, contextual and evidence-based manner can be a difficult and overwhelming process. The good news is that there are many reputable outlets that provide breaking news, research and expert analysis of topics related to climate change, and we’ve curated a list of 53 of them for you below. They are provided in alphabetical order, not by importance or priority.

What Climate Change Means for Montana

    United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Information about climate and the impacts of climate change on Montana from the US Global Change Research Program, the US Climate Science Program, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and EPA's Climate Change Indicators in the United States.

U.S. Warming Fast Since 1st Earth Day

    Climate Central website
Average annual temperatures have been rising in every state sincethe first Earth Day in 1970. The map shows how fast each statehas been warming each decade over the past 46 years.

1001 Blistering Future Summers

    Climate Central website
For our Blistering Future Summers interactive we have projected summer high temperatures for the end of this century for 1,001 cities, and then showed which city in the U.S. — or elsewhere in the world, if we couldn’t find one here — is experiencing those temperatures today. We’ve highlighted several striking examples on the interactive, but make sure to explore and find how much hotter summers will likely be in your city.

Assessing Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate Change in the Northern Rockies

    Andy Hansen, Montana State University
Recorded presentation, part of the RoughCut series.

NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

    NOAA website
The following activities were designed to facilitate as well as enhance teacher instruction on a variety of topics under the larger heading of "Greenhouse Gases and Earth's Changing Climate." Topics range from the simplistic to the more complex- from Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" to computation activities focusing on the formation of CFCs and the Rule of Ninety. Each group of activities is preceded by a Teacher Background section intended to provide a thorough yet condensed version of the science incorporated within the teaching activity. It is assumed that the teacher has at least a general knowledge of scientific terminology and processes within the disciplines of Earth and Physical science.

Global Climate Change

    Paul Andersen,
Paul Andersen explains how the climate on the earth is affected by the amount of solar radiation and the greenhouse affect. The addition of anthropogenic greenhouse gases has led to global warming which is impacting humans on the planet. A discussion of the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases (including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs) is included. Countries have committed to reduce through both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

How Much Warmer Was Your City in 2015?

    New York Times website
Resources from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network NISENet was created to help audiences of all ages better understand the opportunities and challenges of nanoscale science and engineering (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter – the size of atoms and molecules). Nanotechnologies are impacting many sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, and several industries that directly relate to climate change, including water management, energy, and food production. All of the resources below

Nano Resources

    Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network
Scientists declared that 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record. In a database of 3,116 cities provided by AccuWeather, about 90 percent of them were warmer than normal. Enter your city in the field below to see how much warmer it was last year.


For more information about CLIMB please contact:
Suzi Taylor
Director of Outreach
Montana State University Academic Technology & Outreach