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Connecting Global Climate Change with Engineering

NASA and PBS Teachers

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This short series of lessons has multiple facets that may require several class periods to implement. Lessons explore the importance of engineering solutions to the management of climate change, by brainstorming ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in a form that does not promote global warming. Students can explore engineering careers and experience learning through the scientific process.

Lesson series takes about five 45 to 50-minute lessons.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPb
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPd
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
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4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
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.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
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C) Systems and connections.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
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D) Flow of matter and energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
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C) Resources.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.

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 preview and highlight module ahead of time to identify or target which media they will be using.
  • Open-ended format inherent in the lesson design is conducive to high-level thinking.
  • If using module to emphasize engineering fields and careers, educator may want to consider identifying the many other areas within engineering (geoengineering in addition to environmental engineering) that can be explored to connect climate change with engineering.
  • Resource materials were carefully selected to encourage students of all backgrounds to pursue engineering.

About the Science

  • Reducing CO2 emissions is critical to a healthy planet. Some of the reduction in CO2 emissions can come from saving energy; other reductions will require new technological solutions to energy conservation and use. Resource explores engineering practices and careers as they relate to CO2 sequestration, mitigation, and the challenges in engineering ways to capture CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Comments from expert scientist: I think that's good for teaching future engineers and scientists to reach high and expand their boundaries of possible solutions. From a climate standpoint, the emphasis here was on carbon sequestration at the point of carbon release. While this may reduce future atmospheric carbon, it does nothing to remove the carbon already in the atmosphere.

About the Pedagogy

  • This resource, designed for teachers, can be utilized as a teacher professional growth experience or modified by an educator as a learning module for students. Containing very rich background and reference materials, the resource clearly identifies learning outcomes, background materials and evaluation ideas.
  • Scaffolded supporting materials allow ample opportunities to customize lesson to tailor implementation in the classroom.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This is a highly organized, complete module full of multimedia resources and embedded links.
  • Educator should allow ample time before implementation to ensure all links work and highlight those media that they would have students focus on as they proceed through the lesson.

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