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Brazilian Deforestation and the Atmosphere

Susan Borland, Kathy East, Teressa Black, Kathie Klein, Bruce Howard, Challenger Learning Centers

In this activity, students read an article condensed from several NASA articles about the impact of deforestation on the atmosphere and answer review questions. They then use Google Earth and current NEO data to examine relationships between forest fires and atmospheric aerosols.

2 50-minute class periods

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Climate Literacy
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Role of aerosols in climate system
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Climate is complex
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Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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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.
Earth's weather and climate is mostly driven by energy from the Sun.
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2.3 Earth's climate driven by the Sun.
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
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Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
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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

  • This activity is part 1 of three activities.
  • Educator should familiarize her/himself with the NEO site before using with students.
  • Take students through the NEO site before you begin.
  • Make sure each computer can utilize Google Earth.
  • Consider reversing the order of activities so that students use the Google Earth and NEO data sets before reading the article.
  • Article needs to be unpacked with discussion supplementary visuals etc. Or, instead of the condensed article, use the original ones that are included in the teacher's instructions, which have visualizations that help explain the content.

About the Science

  • Students use the NASA Earth Observations (NEO) website to download datasets and use Google Earth to open and view them. Students conduct data analysis by summarizing apparent relationships between variables such as Aerosol Optical Thickness and Water Vapor.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The resources they use (mainly from NASA) and the use of Google Earth is great, and will no doubt grab the students attention. It also shows students how to access good data, view it, and encourages them to explore.

About the Pedagogy

  • Strong set of teacher materials provided.
  • The reading is quite dense and includes a lot of complex information that could be potentially confusing to student readers - careful guidance of the students through the text may be necessary.
  • This activity will take several days or class periods to complete.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Students may have trouble accessing NEO data and/or following the directions that follow. Careful guidance of students through the activity is needed.
  • Screenshots used in the technology instructions could be larger for easier viewing.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN


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