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Using Satellite Images to Understand Earth's Atmosphere
http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/atmosphere/index.html

Todd Ensign, et. al., Earth Exploration Toolbook, TERC

In this Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter, students select, explore, and analyze satellite imagery. They do so in the context of a case study of the origins of atmospheric carbon monoxide and aerosols, tiny solid airborne particles such as smoke from forest fires and dust from desert wind storms. They use the software tool ImageJ to animate a year of monthly images of aerosol data and then compare the animation to one created for monthly images of carbon monoxide data. Students select, explore and analyze satellite imagery using NASA Earth Observatory (NEO) satellite data and NEO Image Composite Explorer (ICE) tool to investigate seasonal and geographic patterns and variations in concentration of CO and aerosols in the atmosphere.

Activity takes about three to four class periods. Computer and Internet access required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Role of aerosols in climate system
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2e
Climate is complex
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is complex
Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6c

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
Other materials addressing:
A) Human/environment interactions.

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

  • Introduce students to ImageJ before beginning the exercise.
  • Instructors should emphasize the effect of aerosols on the energy budget and climate.
  • Suggest pairing students for activity.

About the Science

  • Excellent use and application of science from remote sensing data with a problem-based scenario.
  • Makes use of the type of tools scientists use to analyze satellite images to study change.

About the Pedagogy

  • Hands-on exercise uses NEO data to explore carbon monoxide concentrations and aerosols.
  • Good organization of learning materials and a logical learning sequence leads students to analysis and understanding of complex data sets.
  • Instructions are clear, thorough, and well-written.
  • The case study provides good background information for students (and teachers).
  • Excellent going further activities for advanced students.
  • Hands-on exercise uses NEO data to explore carbon monoxide concentrations and aerosols.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The "show me" feature that helps students through problems and procedures using software is just exemplary and allows students to check their progress frequently throughout the activity.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Structure and Function, Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C6.1:Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts; therefore, complex natural and designed structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.

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-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Science and Engineering Practices: 7

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P3.2:Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation

MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.

MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

MS-P5.1: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends.

MS-P6.4:Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real- world phenomena, examples, or events.

MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

MS-P1.3:Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-ESS3.D2:Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Cause and effect, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

HS-C4.2:When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

Science and Engineering Practices: 7

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P1.1:ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P3.1:Plan an investigation or test a design individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence as part of building and revising models, supporting explanations for phenomena, or testing solutions to problems. Consider possible confounding variables or effects and evaluate the investigation’s design to ensure variables are controlled.

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

HS-P6.1:Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.

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-P8.2:Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.


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