Class activities
Age cible
Ocean and Cryosphere
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The climate in our hands - Ocean and Cryosphere

The climate in our hands - Ocean and Cryosphere is the first teacher's guide book of the collection “The climate in our hands”, a series of volumes on the topic of climate change. It has been researched and written by the OCE team and the OCE’s scientific and education partners.

The aim of this guide book is to support teachers in carrying out a range of activities on climate change and the ocean and cryosphere in their classrooms, and targets students from the upper end of primary school to the end of lower-secondary school (ages 9 to 15).

The activities proposed focus on developing scientific knowledge, but also environmental awareness and life skills, such as creative and critical thinking, decison-making and interpersonal skills. Hence, this guide is strongly multidisciplinary, covering different disciplines of the natural and social sciences, as well as arts and physical education and aims at promoting active pedagogies.

couverture guide

Last September, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a Special Report, which emphasized the importance of the ocean and cryosphere (ice and snow on Earth) to mankind and how strongly they are being impacted by climate change. This OCE's first teacher's guide book follows this publication and focuses on the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate. In this context, a wide variety of subjects are approached, from the origin of climate change, to its consequences on the ocean and cryosphere - such as cryosphere melting, sea level rise and ocean acidification - and on human livelihoods, and how to mitigate or adapt to the coming challenges.

The guide book includes four main parts:

  • Scientific Overview: a teacher-friendly overview of the scientific background needed in order to master the topics that will be discussed in the lessons;
  • Pedagogical Overview: a brief overview of the different approaches to learning that are proposed in the guidebook, as well as some hints on how to make the best out of this teaching resource;
  • Part 1 - We understand: the lesson plan. A series of lessons are proposed, following the natural path of reasoning of the students. These include different approaches to learning: inquiry-based, experimentation, role-playing games, debates, documentary analysis and group work. Some lessons are proposed to all, while others target only more advanced students;
  • Part 2 - We act: this second part of the class activities builds up on the knowledge and skills acquired in Part 1, and proposes a project-based learning approach. The class chooses, designs and implements an “action project”, targeting a goal of mitigation, adaptation or raising awareness to climate change. The students can thus become the actors of the change they want to see in their surrounding environment and community, and implement effective measures at their reach to better cope with climate change consequences on the ocean and cryosphere.


A spreadsheet version of the Worksheet E3.1 is available in 2 different formats : Excel and OpenDocument (see Part 1, lesson E3 "climate justice").

Different videos and multimedia activities are proposed with the guide book to further extend the learning experience and can be found in the corresponding sections of our website, respectively:




mangrove planting

Our hope is that this resource will inspire teachers and support them in adopting a creative and effective climate education programme in classrooms.

About the authors
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David Wilgenbus

Chief executive officer
Office for Climate Education

Contact informations

Office for Climate Education - 4, place Jussieu
75005 Paris

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Lydie Lescarmontier

Science Officer
Office for Climate Education

Contact informations

Sorbonne Université 4, place Jussieu, Tour 55-56 4ème étage, bureau 414, B.P. 101
75252 Paris

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Tricoire Mathilde

Secondary school teacher