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Global Change in Grasslands, USDA-ARS

USDA-ARS and Fireside Productions

This video features the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment Experiment near Cheyenne WY, where scientists expose mixed-grass prairie to higher temperatures and CO2 concentrations to study impacts on the prairie for late in this century.

Video length 7:54 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 8 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 8 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate's role in habitats ranges and adaptation of species to climate changes
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

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

  • This video can be used in a variety of types of lessons: geography, climate change, environmental science, or anthropology.
  • For middle school students, it might be a bit long and dry - educator needs to unpack the science. Using concept mapping may help students understand the science content.

About the Science

  • The experiment simulates projected climate changes to see how the grasslands will respond. Research scientists from the US Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University, and University of Wyoming are featured, collecting grass samples and explaining how they will test each species for present conditions and predicted future conditions. Scientists discuss positive and negative impacts of the C02-enriched environment, and potential implications for livestock and invasive species.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It is a well described research project and easy for all ages to understand.

About the Pedagogy

  • Video illustrates very clearly how scientists manipulate plots of grassland (modifying temperature and C02 levels) so they can measure impacts of changes predicted for the future, on different species of plant life. Good explanations by the scientists about how they conduct their research.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video image and sound quality are excellent.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 8

MS-LS2.C1:Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

MS-LS2.C2:Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth’s terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health

MS-LS4.D1:Changes in biodiversity can influence humans’ resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely on—for example, water purification and recycling.

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

MS-PS3.D2:Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.

MS-LS1.C1:Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use.

MS-ESS3.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 8

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-ESS3.C1:The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

HS-LS2.C2:Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species.

HS-LS4.D2:Biodiversity is increased by the formation of new species (speciation) and decreased by the loss of species (extinction).

HS-PS3.D2:The main way that solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis.

HS-LS1.C1:The process of photosynthesis converts light energy to stored chemical energy by converting carbon dioxide plus water into sugars plus released oxygen.

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