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Global Warming Webquest
https://koshland-science-museum.org/explore/global-warming-webquest-teachers-section

Marian Koshland Science Museum - National Academy of Sciences

In this Webquest activity, students assume roles of scientist, business leader, or policy maker. The students then collaborate as part of a climate action team and learn how society and the environment might be impacted by global warming. They explore the decision making process regarding issues of climate change, energy use, and available policy options. Student teams investigate how and why climate is changing and how humans may have contributed to these changes. Upon completion of their individual tasks, student teams present their findings and make recommendations that address the situation.

This activity stretches over several weeks. Some pieces could be used as shorter stand-alone activities. Computer access is necessary.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Humans can take action
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans can take action
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
7.3 Environmental quality.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
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4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Energy decisions are influenced by economic factors.
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5.4 Economic factors.
Energy decisions are influenced by environmental factors.
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5.6 Environmental factors.
One way to manage energy resources is through conservation.
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6.2 Conserving energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

4. Personal and Civic Responsibility:B) Recognizing citizens' rightrs and responsiblities
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B) Recognizing citizens' rightrs and responsiblities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
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C) Resources.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:B) Sorting out the consequences of issues
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B) Sorting out the consequences of issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
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C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:A) Forming and evaluating personal views
Other materials addressing:
A) Forming and evaluating personal views.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Need to guide student groups to make sure that they maintain a critical eye on the material they are examining.
  • Because the activity links to so many external sites, it will be useful for the educator to make sure the links important for their students are working.

About the Science

  • The activity links to the scenarios from IPCC 2001. Educator may want to point students to a more recent version. The 2007 version is here: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/mains3.html.
  • Activity forms a good connection to real world policies.
  • Comment from expert scientist: In this activity, assumptions are, in some cases, not aligned with scientific consensus and are not supported by citation or annotation: e.g. the http://www.koshland-science-museum.org/exhibitgcc/impacts02.jsp claims sea level rise is expected to be from several inches to nearly three feet by the year 2100, whereas the IPCC Working Group 1 2007 states that sea level rise is expected to reach 0.18-0.59 metres by the mid-2090s. There are instances in the activity where the language used does not exemplify good scientific practice by failing to critically assess data: e.g. Other surface temperature data sets differ somewhat from those shown here, but in all of them the modern temperatures are generally greater than during the past several hundred years.

About the Pedagogy

  • This is a reading-based activity where students are pointed to a number of online resources. The educator will need to make sure students stay on task given the breadth of material.
  • The role-playing aspect of this exercise provides potential for fun and peer learning and will address different types of learners.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There is potential (as in most Webquests) for students to get lost in the abundance of material. It also carries the additional problem that it is easy to assume that all web resources are equally credible. Most of the websites referenced here are reputable.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Stability and Change, Cause and effect

MS-C2:Cause and effect

MS-C7.1: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales, including the atomic scale.

MS-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

MS-P6.3:Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

MS-P7.2:Respectfully provide and receive critiques about one’s explanations, procedures, models, and questions by citing relevant evidence and posing and responding to questions that elicit pertinent elaboration and detail.

MS-P8.3:Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence.

MS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information (e.g. about a proposed object, tool, process, system) in writing and/or through oral presentations.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Cause and effect, Stability and Change

HS-C2.4:Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects.

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

Science and Engineering Practices: 4

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P6.4:Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.

HS-P7.2:Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.

HS-P8.3:Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source.

HS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).


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