Exposure and Vulnerability


The following page develops students' understanding of vulnerability to climate change and resilience to cope with its threats. It uses the Pressure Release Model as a theoretical context for examining the progression of vulnerability as well as strategy framework for increasing a region's resilience threshold. The lesson begins with a number of starter activities based on photograph and maps to develop place and scale insights. The lesson then develops understanding through well chosen videos from the IPCC and Climate Literacy. The lesson goes on to an independent investigation and presentation based on the the level of vulnerability in two contrasting regions.

Enquiry Question

What makes people more vulnerable to the risks of climate change?

Teaching time: 2 Hours

Learning Objectives:

  • To explain the different factors that combine to increase the vulnerability of people to the risks of climate change

Teacher Notes:

Starter_Photograph Annotation_Factors Influencing Vulnerability_Synthesis_Students should begin the lesson by trying to identify the different factors that influence vulnerability. As way of extension students should consider, environmental, economic, social and political factors

1. Analyzing Map Patterns _Vulnerability at the global scale_Synthesis and Scale Project the map of vulnerability and students should consider and discuss the factors that influence the level of vulnerability at the global scale.

2. Synthesis_The Crunch Model_Synthesis_Give students the worksheet with the adapted Crunch Model and students should attempt to identify factors relating to a place that they think will heighten risk and vulnerability. Keep this generic for now.

3. Vulnerability Factors_Video Comprehension_Processes_Students can then complete the question sheet based on the Climate Literacy Video on the factors that influence vulnerability

4. Video Comprehension_Processes_Continue the note taking by completing the questions and annotation with the second worksheet based on the IPCC video

5. Plenary Activity _Active Reading _Card Sort_Synthesis_Hand out to pairs sets of the cut cards of factors influencing vulnerability and students should arrange them in the correct place around the risk diagram

6. Student Investigation _Two Contrasting Regions _Assessment_Places, Spatial Interactions and Possibilities_ Students should then use the Pressure Release Model as a structure for their research into the progression of vulnerability in two contrasting regions of the world. The site suggests a number of possible places and provides a framework for the structure of their investigation. The investigation should be presented to the class. To ensure thorough revision notes students should provide written material to accompany their presentation.

This investigation is well resourced to support the students' investigation through the following resource page, titled, Climate Change Vulnerability

Starter Activity_Synthesis_Photograph Analysis

Study the following photograph, which shows people in Haiti subjected to hazards associated with Hurricane Matthew in September 2016.

Annotate the photograph to identify factors that you think make the people more vulnerable to hazards.


Consider environmental, economic, social and political factors

Student Activity_Synthesis and Scale_World Vulnerability Map to Climate Change

Study the map and suggest factors that influence the level of vulnerability to climate change at the global scale.

Source Standard and Poor's

Student Activity_Synthesis_Applying the Crunch Model to Climate Change

Working in pairs identify factors relating to a place that would increase the level of vulnerability in a population to climate change.

Student Activity_Processes_Vulnerability

Watch the following podcast by Climate Literacy and answer the questions on the sheet provided.

Vulnerability and Resilience

Student Activity _Processes_Video on Vulnerability

Watch the following video on the Working Group II of the IPCC on impacts and vulnerability and the answer the questions that follow.

Student Activity_Synthesis_Card Sort Determining Levels of Risk

Use the following cut out cards and arrange them around the diagram of risk

Card Sort Risk

Student Assessment - Investigating the Level of Vulnerability in Contrasting Regions - Places, Spatial Interactions and Possibilities

Using the site page titled, Climate Change Vulnerability and the Pressure Release Model below as a structure for your research investigate the progression of vulnerability in two contrasting regions of the world. Choose from the following:

  1. Haiti
  2. The Sundarbans, West Bengal and Bangladesh
  3. The Yamal Peninsula, Russia (Nenet indigenous people)
  4. The Daintree coast, Australia
  5. Florida, USA
  6. A society of your choice

Present your findings back to the class under the key headings

  1. Hazards associated with climate change
  2. Root Causes - wealth, political pressures, education
  3. Dynamic Pressures - location factors, population pressures
  4. Unsafe Conditions - social differences in age, gender, perception of risk

Make sure your presentation contrasts and explains the level of vulnerability.

Link the vulnerability to the types of climate change triggers that impact the country

Peer Evaluation

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