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Project Look Sharp, Sox Sperry


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom, 10-40 minutes
  • Lesson Plans
  • Worksheets
  • Videos, 4 minutes, 9 seconds
  • Videos, 2 minutes, 57 seconds

Regional Focus



PDF, Downloadable MP4/M4V

El Niño: Connections to Global Warming

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  • In this activity, students will examine an article and videos that explain how warmer ocean temperatures that occur during an El Niño year cause extreme weather. 
  • Students will decode the media messages from the NOAA, Voice of America, and CBS News. 
  • This resource includes a student worksheet, a lesson plan, and a student handout. 
Teaching Tips


  • The lesson plan provides discussion questions for a variety of academic subjects.
  • Students will learn how to evaluate information sources for reliability.
  • This lesson is designed to help students learn how media messages can affect the way that people understand a topic.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers must create a free account to access materials.
  • Teachers should research the sources ahead of time to understand the viewpoints and biases.
  • The lesson plan refers to a "constructivist media decoding process;" these materials will help teachers to understand the goals and design of the lesson.


  • Students could respond to questions individually or in small groups before discussing their answers as a class.
  • The reading for this activity is a bit dense, so a structured reading process may help some students.
  • Other resources on this topic include this lesson on short-term variability in climate, this Vox video on the impacts of melting sea ice on the Arctic, and this digital book on climate change and extreme weather.

Scientist Notes

The resource explains the processes of El Niño and ENSO and their mode of occurrence, a very unique feature causing rapid, unusual warming and stress to the Central Equatorial Pacific, Pacific Coasts of North and South America, and the Gulf of Mexico. The frequency and intensity of its occurrence are a result of our changing climate. This resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process
      • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses result in changes in weather conditions.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.6-8.4 Read various texts closely to determine what each text explicitly says and to make logical inferences; cite specific textual evidence to support conclusions drawn from the texts.
      • R.6-8.9 Assess how perspective or purpose shapes the content and style of various texts.
  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • Geography 1 (F1): Students understand the geography of the community, Maine, the United States, and various regions of the world, and geographic influences on life in the past, present, and future by using the geographic grid and a variety of types of maps, including digital sources, to locate and access relevant geographic information that reflects multiple perspectives.
      • Geography 2 (D1): Students understand geographic aspects of unity and diversity in Maine, the United States, and various world cultures, including Maine Native Americans, by summarizing and interpreting the relationship between geographic features and cultures of Maine Native Americans, and historical and recent immigrant groups in Maine, the United States, and the world.
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