COP26 Teaching Resources for Children

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Climate change resources for kids COP26

This post is written by science specialist teacher Anne.

How to explain COP26 to primary school children

COP26 is the United Nations climate change conference. Leaders of countries and representatives come from all over the world to meet and agree on how to look after the planet and its people. It is called COP26 because COP stands for Conference of Parties and it is the 26th time that the world nations have met to discuss climate change. This year it is being held in the city of Glasgow in Scotland and will last for almost two weeks from 31st October to 12th November 2021.

Why is COP26 so important to the world?

Our planet is still getting warmer. This global warming is melting the ice caps in polar regions and sea levels are rising. This affects the animals, plants and people that live at the poles and throughout the world. The past ten years have seen the highest temperatures since records began and leaders around the world agree that something needs to be done to stop this.

All over the world, extreme weather is becoming more frequent. Events such as hurricanes, heatwaves, flooding and forest fires are causing destruction of people’s homes and the habitats of plants and animals.

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere which leads to global warming and climate change. Carbon dioxide is one of these greenhouse gases and the levels of carbon dioxide produced by humans around the world have increased by almost 30% in the last 25 years.

Burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil are one of the main reasons that there is so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

How does climate change affect people in poorer countries?

People living in some of the world’s poorest countries do not create a lot of pollution but they do suffer the effects of climate change. They often live in places where there are extreme weather conditions such as droughts, hurricanes or flooding. These people in poorer countries need money to produce clean energy and protect themselves against the negative impacts such as flooding.

COP26 teaching ideas

COP26 provides a great opportunity to discuss climate change with children in a way that they may be able to relate to. You could:

  • Discuss what is happening at COP26 and use this as an opportunity to recap/teach the children about climate change and global warming using our climate change editable lesson presentation. This explains what climate change is in an age-appropriate way and is a great starting point for exploring this topic.
  • Invite the children to say what they would say or ask the world leaders at the meeting if they could speak to them.
  • Carry out some climate change science experiments.
  • Take a look at our other climate change resources and use them to get the children involved in thinking about the effects of climate change, making their own changes, and thinking about what can be done to help protect our planet for the children of the future.
  • Research an animal that is affected by climate change and make a fact file.
  • Design a superhero who could save the earth and stop climate change- what special powers would he/she need?
  • Design a packed lunch that leaves as little waste as possible, e.g. reusable drink bottle, biscuit in a reusable box rather than an individual pack, homemade snacks with no packaging, fruit, sandwich in a reusable box rather than in a sandwich bag or foil.
  • Using a leaf template, each child writes one thing they will do to help stop climate change. These can then be combined to make a tree of change display.
  • Make planters using old plastic pots of bottles. Plant seeds or pips from left over or eaten fruit and vegetables. Children can then take plants home or plant in school grounds.

Explore the rest of our climate change resources here.

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