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Using and teaching with climate models  

The use of models is a natural fit for teaching about how aspects of the climate system interact. Have you successfully taught with climate models? Do you have good models to recommend? Or other tips for your colleagues?

If you are new to using models, what questions do you have about how to get started with them?


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What type of classroom grouping works best if students have to work at desktop computers to get effective participation on a task?

Are there some resources that are less advanced than others that can be used to teach the skills to students with weaker computer skills and learning challenges?


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In my physics classes I have students do a number of hands-on activities on desktop computers (labs, simulations, quizzes). I always have them work in small groups. Three students per computer seems to work just fine. Usually, but not always, one of the three will be computer-literate and helps the group along. Although I could just jump in and help, I like to make the students interact with each other and build their own self-confidence by solving problems on their own - even if they have to go over to another group for help.


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I have not used models in teaching climate-related topics. My students have worked with carbon dioxide data and biogeochemical cycle models, but not modeling per se. I am looking forward to being able to incorporate modeling in my fall classes.


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I have not used climate models and am eager to learn how to use models to illustrate the climate system interaction.


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We have not used climate models either, and are limited by having one computer in each lab room. I would welcome ideas that aren't necessarily computer based for large intro classes.


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This post was editted by Jacob Spear on Aug, 2014
David Archer has some simple climate models at: We use his modtran and geocarb models. Both are useful and user friendly (mostly). We've found the hard part is designing activities with these models that are both challenging and meaningful for students.

Has anyone used EdGCM?


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