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Is Climate Change Happening?

King's Centre for Visualization in Science

For this lesson, the guiding Concept Question is: What is climate change and how does climate relate to greenhouse gas concentrations over time? This activity is the second lesson in a nine-lesson module 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change' produced by the International Year of Chemistry project (2011).

Activity takes about 1 to 2 class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Energy Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Energy Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

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

  • Basic high school chemistry knowledge is needed.
  • Activity is self-directed and robust in content. This activity would benefit from educator interaction and group discussion at intervals to pose and answer questions, clarify visualizations, etc.
  • This resource would make a very nice homework assignment and would be useful for home school students.
  • Could be used as a student self-directed resource as a formative assessment.

About the Science

  • This resource shows long-term (800,000 years ago to present) changes in common greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide) and temperature, as revealed by ice core samples. Resource provides a useful tool to understand the relationship between these greenhouse gases, temperature, and anthropogenic and natural disturbances. This resource also does a good job of explaining that even though there is a relationship, the data does not allow us to know whether one factor is causing the other factor to change (i.e. correlation does not necessarily mean causation).
  • Comments from expert scientist: Very thorough and rigorously presented materials on isotopic determination of temperature from ice core data. Comprehensive presentation of current knowledge and methods. The lesson tool is highly sophisticated and enlightening, and the authors are to be commended for its development. I believe this presentation is very strong and is highly effective at communicating the issues and the scientific methods.

About the Pedagogy

  • Carefully constructed self-paced activity that consists of primarily reading brief text passages, examining graphs, and answering questions. Includes Key ideas, Test your Knowledge (at end of lesson), applets, and master list of definitions for the set of activities in this sequence.
  • Explanations are well supported with diagrams, photos, interactive graphs, citations, and references.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent technology tool; easy to follow.
Entered the Collection: January 2014 Last Reviewed: January 2014

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