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Studying Global Warming in Biosphere 2

Thirteen, WNET, Teachers' Domain

In this video segment, two students discuss the greenhouse effect and visit with research scientists at Biosphere 2 in Arizona, who research the effects of global climate change on organisms in a controlled facility. Their current research (as of 2002) focuses on the response to increased quantities of CO2 in a number of different model ecosystems.

Video length: 4:57 minutes.

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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

  • Students should be familiar with photosynthesis and respiration prior to watching the video.

About the Science

  • Discusses how human activities have increasingly affected the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Research scientists demonstrate and talk about their research, results and implications of increasing CO2 concentrations.
  • Scientists debunk the myth that CO2 increase is positive for plants (a common argument being made when looking at photosynthesis - if plants need CO2 to live, an increase of CO2 is good for plants).
  • The current CO2 level in the atmosphere is 394 ppm (March 2012)- the number in the video is out of date.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video is excellent scientifically in giving the message to the 5th and 6th graders that CO2 increase does not just warm the earth atmosphere, but it impacts the ecosystems such as the rain forests, and that the impacts lead to feed backs that can in turn enhance the CO2 budget of the atmosphere. It would be great to provide some messages regarding the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere.

About the Pedagogy

  • A background essay, discussion questions, and a link to standards are provided.
  • Main characters in video are two students (an Asian girl and a Caucasian boy) who discuss the greenhouse effect. Students will likely be able to relate to these characters.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • No technical problems on a PC with Firefox. Accessing video on Mac and with Safari was difficult.

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