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Steven Allison


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 10 minutes, 16 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

Earth's Original Inhabitants - and Their Role in Combating Climate Change

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  • In this video, Steven Allison describes the fascinating abilities of microbes to help plants survive, recycle wastes, produce oxygen, and survive extreme environments.  
  • Steven explains that Earth's soil microbiome can help us adapt to climate change, build carbon in the soil, and fight food insecurity.
Teaching Tips


  • This video is a broad introduction to microorganisms with specific connections to climate change.
  • Additional resources that would be helpful for further research are listed under "Steven Allison's resource list" towards the bottom of the page.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with cells, microbes, and microbial communities.
  • The video can be downloaded as an MP4 and used offline.


  • The video is somewhat long and full of information about microbes. In order to help students process the information, a graphic organizer or vocabulary list is recommended. 
  • Biology classes could use this resource to introduce decomposition, the diversity of life, evolution, natural selection, nutrient cycling, or natural solutions to climate change.
  • It could be helpful to pause the video at various points to do comprehension checks and have students work in groups to write a summary of the video.
  • An additional resource that may be helpful to watch before this video is Why Is Soil One of the Most Amazing Things on Earth?
Scientist Notes
This 10-minute TEDx talk presents examples of new scientific discoveries related to climate change and microbiology. After introducing some basic microbiology descriptions, scientific experiments that have helped us understand the impact of climate change on microbiomes is presented, followed by some innovative ways to use microbes to address climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-3 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
      • HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
    • LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
      • HS-LS3-1 Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
      • HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking and Listening (K-12)
      • SL.9-12.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
  • Related Resources


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