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Animation About the Greenhouse Effect


This is a basic animation/simulation with background information about the greenhouse effect by DAMOCLES. The animation has several layers to it that allow users to drill into more detail about the natural greenhouse effect and different aspects of it, including volcanic aerosols and human impacts from burning fossil fuels.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

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

  • Educators will need to scaffold this animation to ensure that the information presented is well understood by learners.
  • When teaching about the greenhouse effect, using the term "heat," as this animation does, may confuse students, especially if they think of heat as a verb. The more accurate technical term "outgoing long wave IR radiation" may prove more difficult to convey, but ultimately is a clearer depiction of Earth's energy balance.

About the Science

  • The animation is an accurate general overview of Earth's energy balance, but educators should recognize some of the sun/Earth dynamics have been oversimplified.
  • For example, the atmosphere does filter out some short wave energy from the sun, such as extreme ultraviolet and X-rays.
  • In general, the animation provides a good overview of the incoming shortwave radiation from the sun, and Earth radiating long wave Infrared Radiation (IR) once it has been warmed by the short wave visible and IR.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Animation is a clear illustration of the physical process, but should only be used at an entry level.

About the Pedagogy

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Animation is simple and easy to access.
  • This animation contains a short quiz at the end.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2


MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Cause and effect

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

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