By: Lisa Wise, NH Sea Grant Extension

 At the Climate in the Classroom Teacher Training this past summer, we met two sixth-grade science teachers from Portsmouth Middle School who were very eager to bring the program to their students. Their eight classes amounted to over 150 students – more than twice the size of groups we have worked with for past Climate in the Classroom programs! 

Fortunately, we brought some other CAW members on board to help – Abigail Lyon (Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership), Julie LaBranche (Rockingham Planning Commission), Kyle Pimental (Strafford Regional Planning Commission), and Sherry Godlewski (NH Department of Environmental Services). We spent a day at Portsmouth Middle School in mid-September delivering the kickoff presentation in four separate sessions with smaller groups of students. Then the teachers used the Climate in the Classroom unit plan developed in collaboration with Oyster River Middle School teacher Chris Hall to dive into the content.

Previous Climate in the Classroom programs have involved the students working in small groups to develop climate posters and then presenting them at a culminating community event. This time around, we (and the teachers) wanted to try something a little different. The students researched sustainable and resilient building design elements, developed their own design, and then worked in small groups to come up with a group concept. They collected recycled materials and other found objects throughout the fall with which to construct their buildings.

At two culminating events in late October, the students presented their buildings to family members, other students, municipal representatives, and other community members. Their creativity and thoughtful research were obvious, and despite some presentation nerves they proudly shared their designs with the audience. Check out their designs and finished products below!


This program was funded by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act in conjunction with the NH Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program. 

Questions? Contact Lisa Wise,, 603-862-2356.