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Climate Change 1958: The Bell Telephone Science Hour

Frank Capra, Bell Telephone Science Hour

Bell Telephone Science Hour produced this video in 1958, explaining how the production of CO2 from factories and automobiles is causing the atmosphere to warm, melting the polar ice caps, and causing the sea level to rise.

Video length: 1:55 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Increased GHG concentrations in atmosphere will remain high for centuries and affect future climate
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6b
Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6c
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate
Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
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.
Other materials addressing:
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
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2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

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

  • Teachers should embed this video in a presentation to create conversation about the history of atmospheric science and climate change.
  • Today we have data regarding the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, changes in air temperature, sea level rise, and ice cap melting that confirms the comments made by the scientist in the 1958 video.

About the Science

  • This video, produced during the International Geophysical Year in 1958, focuses on how increasing atmospheric CO2 through industrial processes will absorb more heat, raise atmospheric temperatures, and likely cause melting of the polar ice caps, resulting in sea level rise.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The short movie clip gives a feel of the important phenomena of Global Warming and climate change being perceived in 1958.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video demonstrates that the scientific community has understood for decades that increases in gases that trap heat can impact global temperatures and lead to "catastrophic changes in our environment." This video explains that CO2 from automobiles and factories could cause global temperatures to rise, melting ice caps and causing a rise in sea level.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The video is of very good quality with a classic look and sound.

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

See other International Geophysical Year (IGY) Films such as The Inconstant Air: http://lasp.colorado.edu/igy_nas/

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

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.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

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