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Brazilian Deforestation and the Hydrosphere

Jamie Fryrear, Joe-Anne Corwin, Sheree Kearns, Julie Muffler, Bruce Howard, Challeneger Learning Centers

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Students read an article about the impact of deforestation on the hydrosphere and answer review questions. Students choose two variables and make a prediction. Students pick a previous year to study and use the NASA Earth Observatory (NEO) website to download datasets showing different variables overlaying Rondonia and Mato Grosso, Brazil. Using visual analysis techniques, students explain whether their prediction was confirmed or not during the year in question.

Activity takes about two 50 minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • Consider using the reading as an assessment instead of an introduction. Let students make predictions on the article review page and then launch into the hands on collection of data portion of the activity.
  • Consider switching the order of activities - explore NEO datasets and then follow with reading. Provide more time and structure for students to unpack all the information in the reading.

About the Science

  • Students learn about relationships between a series of variables connected to Brazilian deforestation–smoke from fires, photosynthesis from vegetation, water vapor, cloud cover, rainfall and temperature. They use Google Earth and NASA Earth Observatory (NEO) data to collect data and verify their predictions.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Presenting complex interactions between the biosphere and atmosphere in a digestible way and giving the students the opportunity to download and use original data, interpret the patterns they see, and summarize.

About the Pedagogy

  • The background student reading is dense and the assignment might be better served by using the original articles from which it was created. Students will need to unpack the background material - to a greater extent than provided in the activity – for it to be useful.
  • The teacher materials are extensive and a final assessment rubric is provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Teachers will need to review how to access NASA Earth Observatory (NEO) data before students do the investigation.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN


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