With COP26 approaching, this is a perfect time to engage children with some of the topics and concepts connected with climate change. Here we have some possible experiments and activities that you may like to do in your own setting.

Introduction

As COP26 approaches, Climate change, the greenhouse effect, global warming, carbon capture, net-zero and extreme weather are all topics that are likely to be in the news more often. This is a perfect time to start children thinking about climate change and understand the causes and the impact that it will have on our planet. Conducting experiments will let children experience first-hand the causes and effects of climate change, and therefore make it more real and easier to understand. Once they understand how and why climate change is happening, they can have more informed class discussions about what COP is set up to do and what they would like to see being done to tackle climate change on an international level, as well as the small everyday things that we can all do to play our part.

The main concepts that need to be understood are:

  • nearly everything we do as a society requires energy, and that most of that energy comes from burning fossil fuels.
  • Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, especially CO2, into the atmosphere
  • Increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere increases the temperature of the planet
  • Increased global temperatures have impacts on the planet, such as melting polar ice.

Energy Use experiment and discussion activity

Products of Combustion (Secondary aged pupils)

Effects of increased CO2 (Primary and secondary aged pupils)

Impact of increasing temperatures

What can we do?