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Carbon Temperature Model

NASA: Challenger Center, NASA

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With this carbon/temperature interactive model, students investigate the role of atmospheric carbon in the greenhouse effect using a relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature.

Two 50-minute class periods for the interactive or one class period and one at-home assignment.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by Earth's internal and external sources of energy.
Other materials addressing:
2.5 Energy moves between reservoirs.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.
Humans live within Earth's ecosystems.
Other materials addressing:
3.6 Humans live within Earth's ecosystems..

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:B) Changes in matter
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B) Changes in matter.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
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C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
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D) Flow of matter and energy.

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

  • Educator should explore the entire 'New to the Site' and 'For Teachers' sections of the activity and do a run-through of the tool before students use it.
  • Younger students may require a more guided-inquiry approach (step-by-step worksheet).
  • This could be a self-guided investigation for students or utilized as a class investigation. Educators could use the interactive then jump into further investigations based on those scenarios by using the other activities in the teacher section.

About the Science

  • An interactive model on carbon-temperature relationships from NASA's Challenger Center. The model sets up an interface in which users select a scenario (such as deforestation, volcanoes, hurricanes) and change the inputs to and outputs of the system. As users change variables, the results are graphically represented, demonstrating how selections affect the whole system.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity is quite interesting to be applied in the classroom. Students can get a clear idea about the possible sensitivities of sitema climate. The physics involved behind the calculations is not shown, or at least some references or supplementary materials could be indicated.

About the Pedagogy

  • A very clear and concise set of teacher materials. Well-organized and well-thought-out resource with supporting materials and well-written directions to use the interactive.
  • This model is a great way to have students research the shifting balance of Earth's system. Scenarios allow students to select and investigate the changes first hand while visually seeing the changes represented on a graph.
  • Option to have students print out their results and add their own observations, after they've made their selections.
  • Website http://earth4u.challenger.org/ offers educators support for implementing additional lessons based on carbon and climate change.
  • Students need to be encouraged to read through instructions carefully before starting.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

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