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Global Warming: It's All About Carbon
http://www.npr.org/news/specials/climate/video/

Robert Krulwich, NPR and National Geographic

A sequence of five short animated videos that explain the properties of carbon in relationship to global warming, narrated by Robert Krulwich from NPR.

Five videos of about 3-5 min length each.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs. The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.
About Teaching Principle 2
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e on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate
About Teaching Principle L
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The overwhelming consensus of scientific studies on climate indicates that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the latter part of the 20th century is very likely due to human activities, primarily from increases in greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
About Teaching Principle 6
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Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
The quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices.
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Energy affects quality of life .
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
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Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
Conservation of energy has two very different meanings.
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6.1 Two meanings 'conservation of energy'.
Human demand for energy is increasing.
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6.3 Demand for energy is increasing.
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Human use of energy.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

  • Can be used with multiple age groups to introduce or reinforce understanding of the properties of carbon as the key to global warming.

About the Science

  • Science concerns properties of carbon and why it is the key element in understanding and dealing with global warning.
  • Video does take some poetic license with some science concepts. For example, it may perpetuate the misconception that the greenhouse effect is caused only by human activities linked to increased CO2.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The scientific strengths are generally excellent because the message relies on well-established scientific understanding. The description of the greenhouse effect is not accurate. Greenhouse effect is a result of CO2 absorbing infrared radiation (heat), not reflected solar radiation, from the earth surface.

About the Pedagogy

  • Animations are appealing to a broad age range but mainly targeted toward middle school audience.

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