April King, Shane Berry, Bruce Howard, Challenger Center for Space Science Education
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One or two 50-minute class periods, depending on whether background article and questions are done in or out of class.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Instructors may want to kick off the activity with the volcanic plume analysis before they assign the reading at the beginning. Also, educators may want to access the additional links page to get students drawn into the subject matter and curious about Mount Pinatubo.
- Educators might not choose to include the plume height images of the Iceland volcano.
- Extension activity: compare the effect of different volcanic eruptions and the amount of aerosols in the stratosphere.
About the Science
- Activity shows that cooling is significant because it happens during a time of a clear warming trend (cooling is clear sign of volcanic eruptions).
- Map of global temperature anomalies shows an even more dramatic effect if compared to temperature anomaly maps over the years leading up the the Pinatubo eruption (most temperature anomalies from the 1990s are warming anomalies).
- Comment from expert scientist: The images from the SAGE instrument are a nice visual for how volcano eruptions can impact global surface temperature.
About the Pedagogy
- Well-organized and attractive handout for students. The fact that students are analyzing real data outweighs the somewhat worksheet-type format.
- Students analyze three types of graphical data to determine the effect of volcanic eruptions on climate. Supported by sufficient background material, along with recommended readings on Mount Pinatubo.
- Doesn't mention where Mount Pinatubo is located.
- Comment from expert scientist: Need to emphasize that sulfate aerosols are primarily scatterers, otherwise students might get confused between absorbing and scattering. Removing discussion of absorption would be advised.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Plethora of additional background resource are provided for the educator on volcanoes and climate change. Well-organized teacher version, outlined with student worksheet.