Summer Research Program for Science Teachers
Global Warming and Energy Choices In the 21st Century
Students will learn:
(a) the nature of global warming
(b) the causes of global warming
(c) ways to solve the problem of global warming
(d) to develop an energy plan for the future
This is a short-term research project in which students will learn the facts of climatic changes and the relationship between climatic changes, the economic, political and social impacts of these changes, and the energy choices for the future. By engaging in different activities and by doing lab experiments, students will gain an understanding of the nature of climatic changes, human activities that interact with the environment, and the impact of science on society.
While students carry out this project, they review some important scientific concepts in Meteorology, such as the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, and the composition of the atmosphere. This will help students to understand the causes and impact of global warming on the worldwide environment. By reading and researching more information, students will realize that the use of fossil fuels play an important part in the current world energy demand. Human activities affect the environment tremendously. In order to better understand the climatic change model, improve human health, and reduce environmental pollution, an energy revolution is necessary.
Standard A: Plan an inquiry-based science program: develop short-term goals for students.
Standard B: Guide and facilitate learning: Encourage and model skills of scientific inquiry, curiosity and openness to new ideas, and skepticism
Standard C: Ongoing assessment of teaching and student learning: Guide students in self-assessment
Standard E: Develop communities of science learners that reflect the intellectual rigor of scientific inquiry and attitudes and social values conductive to science learning.
Standard F: Actively participate in thee ongoing planning and development of the school science program: participate in decisions concerning allocation of time and other resources to the science program.
Part I: Background
(Reviewing, searching, and writing activities are included in this section)
Students should know the concepts of the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, and the nature of the climatic change. These are included in the Earth Science curriculum in the chapter on Meteorology.
Internet web sites:
The greenhouse effect information sites:
The carbon cycle information sites:
Have students discuss and answer the following questions:
What is the greenhouse effect?
How much do you know about the carbon cycle?
What does “energy balance in the atmosphere” mean?
Illustrate the above-mentioned concepts and describe them.
Group working activity:
* Have students discuss these questions and do more research online about these topics. * Separate the students into small groups and put their responses on paper. Discuss the result with the whole class.
* At the end of the session, each student writes a one-page response to the ‘activities’ questions. The response should also include the answers to the following questions.
· Are these natural phenomena important?
· If these natural phenomena didn’t exist in the planet earth’s atmosphere, what kind of weather would we have?
· Is it possible for living things to survive on the earth without these natural phenomena?
Part II: What is global warming?
(Question forming, reading, and writing activities)
Distribute one article about global warming to students. The teacher can do a reading and writing activity.
Global warming article web sites:
(Note: These links do not lead directly to an article on Global warming)
Global warming issue information:
Reading and writing activity:
1. Teacher provides an article about the global warming issue. The teacher can ask the students to read only the title of the article first, then the teacher can ask the students to write their prediction of what the main idea of the paper will be.
2. Students share their responses and read the article.0
3. Students answer the following questions:
a. What is main point of this article?
b. What did you learn from this article?
c. What are the key words in the article?
d. What questions do you have after you have read the article?
Teacher discusses the article with the students and lists and answers the questions that students have. Teacher has students write a short essay about what they have learned from this article.
After the students discuss and answer the questions, they will have a better understanding what global warming is as well as how it affects the world environment and society. Then the next question will be: What causes global warming? By discussing this question; students can make the connection between the topics of the greenhouse effect, fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, and energy choices for the future.
Students write an essay about the nature of global warming and how it affects human life. In the essay students also need to mention how human activities interact with global warming and what are the possible ways to solve the problem.
Have students use thermometers to measure the air temperature changes in different places. In the same general area and at the same time, put two thermometers in two different places: in an open space and in a closed glass box. Students record the change of temperate and compare the difference in the rate of change in temperature. Students then explain why the temperature rises at different rates. Students are asked to give some other examples in which the same situation might happen in their everyday lives. For example, describe the experience of the inside of a car on a summer afternoon or visiting a greenhouse and then describe the environment.