Soil Microbes and Global Warming
KUAC, WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain
Video length: 3:55 minutes.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 8 Disciplinary Core Ideas
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Before viewing, give students questions to answer as they view.
- Very dense text in background essay. A diagram of a feedback loop would be a good scaffold.
- Since microbes get such little recognition as a contributor to climate change, this video could be a good way to show students a different perspective on how Earth's atmosphere is being altered.
About the Science
- Soil has many different kinds of microbes that break down matter for energy and recycle nutrients back into the environment. Scientists are discovering that soil microbes, active in the topmost layer of permafrost, produce carbon dioxide and methane gas in the process of decomposition. As surface temperatures gradually warm, more of the permafrost thaws, increasing microbial action and the release of more carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere.
- Comment from expert scientist: Overall, the information contained in this activity is accurate and up-to-date. I liked that the activity also went into some of the nuances of the effects of soil warming on microbial activity. I also liked that there was information about positive feedback loops in this activity because positive feedbacks are so important to understanding how climate change can occur.
About the Pedagogy
- Background information and review questions are provided to supplement this video.
- Feedback loops require a lot of scaffolding. Teachers should consider showing simple diagrams of feedback loops.