Science 10 – Global Climate Change and Rivers in Different Biomes

Science 10: Global Climate Change and Rivers in Different Biomes 



Students will learn about how human activities affect different biomes in various locations, how these activities contribute to climate change, and the actions taken to deal with the impacts of climate change. In this lesson, students will be learning about the Amazon, the Mekong, and the Mackenzie rivers/biomes in order to compare and contrast climate change contributors and effects in different river systems.


Many communities around the world rely on waterways for transportation, agriculture, drinking water, and as a food source. Freshwater is essential. While people around the world have different cultures, ecosystems, and histories, everyone faces the common threat of climate change. This lesson introduces students to ways communities in three different parts of the world contribute to and experience climate impacts on freshwater environments. Students will explore similarities and differences in climate contributors and threats and apply their knowledge to their own community’s experience.

Key questions for student inquiry: 

How can the experiences of people in various river systems around the world help us better address environmental and climate impacts in our own river system? How does indigenous knowledge contribute to our understanding of river systems and climate change?



In classroom 


Length of activity:

90-120 minutes 

Teacher Resources

Materials Needed:

Connections to Curriculum


Unit D: Energy Flow in Global Systems (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)

Focusing Questions: Are there relationships between solar energy, global energy transfer processes, climate and biomes? What evidence suggests our climate may be changing more rapidly than living species can adapt? Is human activity causing climate change? How can we reduce our impact on the biosphere and on global climate, while still meeting human needs?


  • 1 – Describe how the relationships among input solar energy, output terrestrial energy and energy flow within the biosphere affect the lives of humans and other species 
    • explain how climate affects the lives of people and other species, and explain the need to investigate climate change (e.g., describe the responses of human and other species to extreme climatic conditions; describe housing designs, animal habitats, clothing and fur in conditions of extreme heat, cold, dryness or humidity, wind) 
  • 3 – Relate climate to the characteristics of the world’s major biomes, and compare biomes in different regions of the world 
    • identify the potential effects of climate change on environmentally sensitive biomes (e.g., impact of a reduction in the Arctic ice pack on local species and on Aboriginal societies that rely on traditional lifestyles)
  • 4 – Investigate and interpret the role of environmental factors on global energy transfer and climate change
    • investigate and identify human actions affecting biomes that have a potential to change climate (e.g., emission of greenhouse gases, draining of wetlands, forest fires, deforestation) and critically examine the evidence that these factors play a role in climate change (e.g., global warming, rising sea level(s))
    • describe the limitations of scientific knowledge and technology in making predictions related to climate and weather (e.g., predicting the direct and indirect impacts on Canada’s agriculture, forestry and oceans of climate change, or from changes in energy transfer systems, such as ocean currents and global wind patterns)
    • assess, from a variety of perspectives, the risks and benefits of human activity, and its impact on the biosphere and the climate (e.g., compare the Gaia hypothesis with traditional Aboriginal perspectives on the natural world; identify and analyze various perspectives on reducing the impact of human activity on the global climate)


Attitude Outcomes – Mutual Respect: Students will be encouraged to

Appreciate that scientific understanding evolves from the interaction of ideas involving people with different views and backgrounds (e.g., appreciate Aboriginal clothing and home designs of the past and present that use locally-available materials to adapt to climate; recognize that science and technology develop in response to global concerns, as well as to local needs; consider more than one factor or perspective when making decisions on Science, Technology and Society [STS] issues)