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Atmosphere Design Lab
http://forces.si.edu/atmosphere/index.html

Smithsonian: Forces of Change

This interactive exposes students to Earth's atmospheric gases of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ozone. As the user manipulates the interactive to increase or decrease the concentration of each gas, explanations and images are provided that explain and visualize what the Earth would be like in each scenario.

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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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understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling
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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 .
Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by Earth's internal and external sources of energy.
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2.5 Energy moves between reservoirs.
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 .

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.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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 could divide class into gas teams to explore each one of these scenarios, then report back to the rest of the class.
  • Combine interactive with other resources on the site to support a deeper understanding of the content.

About the Science

  • A simple informational interactive that describes the important properties and characteristics of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and ozone.
  • Gives a cursory explanation of the greenhouse effect and elements of the carbon cycle.
  • NOTE: The stated present level of CO2 is incorrect. For the current CO2 level see: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
  • Comments from expert scientist: There is only little science in this presentation, which is probably appropriate for a broad audience. The comparison with Mars and Venus is good because it suggests that we understand quite well that CO2 is an important factor in setting the temperature. What's more, that suggestion reflects the truth. The last two illustrations ("where does O2 come from" and the "elixir of life") under "oxygen" are excellent.

About the Pedagogy

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Clean and concise in its execution.

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