Subjects & Disciplines
- Develop and revise an explanatory model of the greenhouse effect.
- Read to compare and contrast the terms climate change and global warming.
- Begin to link climate change and global warming with their causes and consequences.
- Orient to the driving question and project for the Climate Change Challenge unit.
- Collaborate to share prior knowledge and ask questions related to climate change and evidence of its causes and effects.
- Select and chart relevant carbon dioxide emissions data to address a claim about global warming.
- Independently calculate summary statistics from carbon dioxide emissions data.
- Read to compare and contrast the terms carbon source and carbon sink.
- Perform research and learn from peers to annotate a diagram of carbon sources and sinks.
- Link specific carbon sources and sinks to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
- Begin to connect particular human activities with carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.
- Analyze an interactive graph to identify short- and long-term trends.
- Write an evidence-based claim comparing carbon dioxide levels across years.
- Collect data and calculate summary statistics to verify the role of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse effect.
- Draw conclusions from a simulation with a physical and digital demonstration of the greenhouse effect.
- Project-based learning
- Cooperative learning
- Multimedia instruction
21st Century Student Outcomes
- Information, Media, and Technology Skills
- Learning and Innovation Skills
- Life and Career Skills
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Science and Engineering Practices
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
- Developing and using models
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Internet access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, 1 computer per learner, 1 computer per pair, Monitor/screen, Printer, Projector, Speakers
- Computer lab
Familiarize yourself with the dataset to be used in this lesson (Scripps Atmospheric CO2 data) before class in preparation to orient and guide students.
Step 2: To set up the physical model of the greenhouse effect, fill one 2-liter soda bottle halfway with fresh seltzer and another 2-liter soda bottle halfway with tap water. Immediately cap both, and allow them to reach room temperature. Place stoppers and/or clay with thermometers into the two bottles to measure the temperature of the air over the surface of the two liquids (see The Greenhouse Gas Demo (3:59) for visual reference). Shine the light (as bright as possible) at the two bottles, from an equal but close distance, and observe the temperature in the two bottles as it changes with energy input from the light over time. Depending on your specific setup, it may take more or less time for temperature differences between the two bottles to become evident. It will, therefore, help to turn on the light at or before the start of class. Turning the light on at the beginning of the day will result in progressively more dramatic temperature differences for a few hours, assuming that the bottles are well-sealed.
- Large-group instruction
- Large-group learning
- Small-group instruction
- Small-group learning
- Small-group work
Recommended Prior Lessons
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
series of processes in which carbon (C) atoms circulate through Earth's land, ocean, atmosphere, and interior.
greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels.
carbon compound (such as carbon dioxide) released into the atmosphere, often through human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels such as coal or gas.
area or ecosystem that absorbs more carbon dioxide than it releases.
process, area, or ecosystem that releases more carbon dioxide than it absorbs.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.
period of greatly reduced precipitation.
coal, oil, or natural gas. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals.
increase in the average temperature of the Earth's air and oceans.
gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere.
energy that causes a rise in temperature.
graph illustrating the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
mathematical value between the two extremes of a set of numbers. Also called the average.
situated in the middle.
difference between the smallest and largest value in a set of numbers.
large, concentrated supply or reserve.
visible radiation from the sun.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.