What is a Model?
Little Shop of Physics, Colorado State University
This learning activity takes one 45 minute class period.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
This Short Demonstration/Experiment builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.
Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.
Notes From Our Reviewers
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Teachers may want to try the activity on their own to get a sense of how the model works before using it with students.
- Depending on baseline knowledge, there may need to be some scaffolding or modification done for middle school audiences.
About the Science
- Students are building a basic climate model for two different atmospheric conditions (one is regular and the other is increase carbon dioxide). Climate models start with basic physical theories: How air moves, how water behaves, how radiation transports energy. They then break the earth's atmosphere down into pieces—cells—and then compute what happens in each cell based on these physical theories.
- Comments from expert scientist:
Scientific strengths: Engaging active learning opportunity for the underlying concepts and functions of climate modeling.
Suggestions: Add evidence or supporting information for the physical basis of the model, heat exchange ratios, provide outcomes or teacher notes. Provide initital conditions for temperature and tokens; describe "intitial/revised" = "contemporary / increased CO2".
About the Pedagogy
- This activity allows students to learn about climate models. The activity is interactive and engaging for students. It is a simple and interesting way for students to model climate.
- This resource includes additional questions to ask/explore that can increase the complexity based on grade level.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Although it seems like it could be complicated, this is a fairly straightforward activity if students can follow the rules of the model.
Entered the Collection: January 2022 Last Reviewed: June 2019