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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.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Life affects climate; climate affects life
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Life affects climate; climate affects life
Global warming is "very likely" caused by human greenhouse gas emission
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6a

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
7.3 Environmental quality.
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Conservation of energy has two very different meanings.
Other materials addressing:
6.1 Two meanings 'conservation of energy'.
Human demand for energy is increasing.
Other materials addressing:
6.3 Demand for energy is increasing.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

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.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

MS-PS3.D2:Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.

MS-LS1.C1:Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use.

MS-PS1.B1:Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants.

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.


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