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Greenhouse Effect
http://www.ctenergyeducation.com/lesson.htm?id=co8lrash

Connecticut Energy Education

This activity is a greenhouse-effect-in-a-bottle experiment. The lesson includes readings from NEED.org and an inquiry lab measuring the effect of carbon dioxide and temperature change in an enclosed environment.

This activity takes about two class periods. Additional material required.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The amount of solar energy absorbed or radiated by Earth is modulated by the atmosphere and depends on its composition. Greenhouse gases—such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane—occur naturally in small amounts and absorb and release heat energy more efficiently than abundant atmospheric gases like nitrogen and oxygen. Small increases in carbon dioxide concentration have a large effect on the climate system.
About Teaching Principle 2
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mate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system
About Teaching Principle C
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Energy Literacy

Fossil and bio fuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.
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4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.
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Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
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.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
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2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.
Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow through the Earth system.
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Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow .

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, are transparent to much of the incoming sunlight but not to the infrared light from the warmed surface of the earth. When greenhouse gases increase, more thermal energy is trapped in the atmosphere, and the temperature of the earth increases the light energy radiated into space until it again equals the light energy absorbed from the sun.
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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 have some background knowledge of basic chemistry.
  • The aerosol activity could be done separately if desired.
  • Educator should talk about variables and controlled experiments before students begin this activity.
  • Educator may want to extend the questions to help students more critically address the objectives.

About the Science

  • An inquiry approach to the greenhouse bottle model. The inquiry nature of the lab is good but using this type of experiment to model the greenhouse effect may reinforce misconceptions.
  • The second inquiry lab on aerosols also has science concerns. "Aerosols" are spray painted on the side of the bottle that the sun shines through. This might represent aerosols, but they are not aerosols in the bottle with the atmospheric gases and thus is a poor model.
  • Comment from expert scientist: It allows students to design their own experiment, and act like scientists themselves. It allows students to think about using models (a soda bottle) to describe a complex system (the atmosphere) and process (the greenhouse effect).

About the Pedagogy

  • A good effort at an inquiry-based activity in which students devise their own experiment to test the effect of increased CO2 in the atmosphere. Students read an article first–not a very exciting way to engage them in the activity. Good assessment questions and scaffolding for the student inquiry investigation.
  • Activity assumes that students understand the dynamics of a controlled experiment, which is not necessarily true.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Instructors will need to create an account to access the materials; the account is free to set up and the materials are free to use.

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