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Paleontological Research Institution, Ingrid Zabel


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, 8 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

What Is Causing the Earth to Warm?

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  • This informational video uses animated graphs, pictures, and climate models to describe the many causes of climate fluctuations on Earth including Milankovitch Cycles, solar output, volcanic eruptions, changes in reflectivity, ground-level ozone, and greenhouse gases.
  • It clearly outlines the data showing the contributions of each to our current climate and is an excellent video to help climate deniers understand the evidence and data.
Teaching Tips


  • The complicated processes in the video are broken down and explained thoroughly.
  • The graphs used are shown in layers, so the effect of each factor can be seen independently.

Additional Prerequisites

  • An ad may play before the video. 
  • Students should be comfortable reading and interpreting graphs.
  • Students should have a good understanding of climate change factors and be familiar with the metric system.


  • This video could be presented to adults, the general public, parents, students, or clubs as a clear, factual, and unbiased presentation of the facts.
  • This would be a great video to introduce the concept of Milankovitch cycles and climate models to science students. 
  • Chemistry classes could use the climate models presented to show the effect of combustion reactions and could work backward from the temperature increase to find the initial amount of reactants.
  • Students could use the information presented to make their own climate change predictions for the future and present them to the class. 
  • Some related resources are this StC lesson plan where students use graphs to make their own climate change predictions, this video Milankovitch Cycles Precession and Obliquity, and this lesson plan Fusion Energy and Climate Change
Scientist Notes
This 9-minute video presents both natural and human-driven factors that control and impact the Earth's climate, including Milankovitch Cycles, volcanoes, and anthropogenic emissions. Evidence is presented that demonstrates how we know that human activities, and not natural processes, explain modern climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS2: Earth’s Systems
      • HS-ESS2-4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
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