Lisa Gardiner, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Activity takes about one 45-minute class period.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
May also be appropriate for grade 9.
This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.
Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
Other materials addressing:
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Improving the assessment: Discussion is okay, but the student understanding of the key concepts of this activity should also be measured using a questionnaire or by letting them interpret other data sets that they have not yet seen.
- The science background provided in the "Teachers Guide" could be used for students. If this is done, it would be important to have guiding questions to accompany the reading.
- The Solar Activity graph is missing a units label on the left hand axis. Students need to be told that the data is in Watts per meter squared (W/m2)
- Educators may want to note to students that the "tree growth" data is derived from measurements of tree rings.
- It should be pointed out to students that the variations in tree growth is an indicator of climate change while the volcanic activity and sunspot activity are causes of climate change.
About the Science
- Comparison of different forcing mechanisms (sunspots, volcanoes) with one indicator for climate variability (tree growth) will foster the student understanding of complex interactions in climate system.
- References are missing for some of the data.
- Some of the graphs are missing labels to say what the units being measured are. This is particularly a problem because the graphs contain two y-axes.
- Great scientific approach to have students synthesize information from three different data sources to draw conclusions about climate change.
- Comment from scientist: If the volcanic ash stays in the troposphere, precipitation "washes it out" and its effect on climate is negligible. Only volcanic material that reaches the stratosphere will make a difference in the albedo of the atmosphere and have an effect on the climate.
About the Pedagogy
- Well-designed activity with good guidance for educator
- The "Teacher's Guide" is well written and provides good introductory background information for educators. However, educators probably need more in-depth information to handle various questions students may have. If the guide is not used, educators need to make sure that their students acquire this understanding in some other way.
- Activity is a worksheet activity where students interpret data from graphs.