The Tracking Climate in Your Backyard curriculum has been designed for use in conjunction with participation in CoCoRaHS. However, each activity can be performed regardless of CoCoRaHS participation, and have been designed to stand alone, without the aid of other activities in the curriculum or their extensions. Because climate is a complex topic, consisting of weather -- i.e. temperature, rain, snow, and the hydrologic cycle -- as it occurs in a region over decades, lessons are built to explain the short-term and long-term effects of the different topics in your community.

The underlying theme of the entire curriculum is the role of the water cycle. There is a finite supply of water on the planet; it controls our climate, provides us with drinking water and recreation, and is home to vast numbers of species. Understanding the water cycle helps connect weather, climate, biodiversity loss, and environmental awareness, which is much needed for the youth of today as they prepare to be the scientifically conscious society of tomorrow.

On top of making numerous connections, a focus on the water cycle allows many opportunities for educational extension activities in a youth’s local environment. Global positioning system (GPS) handheld units are featured as a useful tool in tracking changes in weather and climate locally. GPS loaner kits are available through Cornell Cooperative Extension, and can be incorporated in almost any aspect of this curriculum.

This project certainly doesn’t aim to re-invent the wheel, and many activities are adapted from other sources. What makes this program unique lies in the discussion section of the activities; the real ‘meat’ of the science is dissected in a user-friendly way in the discussion section, and highlights the ways in which these activities relate to a changing climate. Also, CoCoRaHS extension activities suggest ways to look at information learned in an activity from another perspective, and conduct your own scientific investigation.

To download individual activities by subject, click on the links below.

Rain Activities

Snow Activities

Temperature Activities

Wind Activities

Water Cycle Activities

Climate Activities