At this point in our unit on basic chemistry in biology, students will have read and discussed articles on climate change issues such as: its impact on the ocean, wildfires, glaciers, and the political policy aspect of policy making, completed a virtual lab experiment tracing the impact of climate change on marine organisms, and conducted a personal carbon footprint investigation into their own contribution to climate change.
Today, students will continue to deepen their understanding of climate change trends by exploring climate change utilizing data from the fossil record using this Smithsonian in the Classroom (Fall 2009) "Prehistoric Climate Change and Why it Matters Today" resource guide. You can also have your students explore the lab through an online interactive platform.
There are many reasons why I really liked working with this resource:
I will be curious to hear what you and your class find beneficial about this lesson, can't wait to hear from you!
1. To introduce our work together, ask students to discuss in their lab groups the following prompt which is on the board:
Do you think climate change has happened in the past?
How do scientists study ancient climate change?
2. Each group chooses a spokesperson to share their ideas in a quick whip around. After this brief share out, tell students that they might surprised to know that climate change has been happening for a very long time and that scientists study ancient climate change in the following ways:
dendrochronology (tree rings)
3. After taking additional comments or questions based upon your list of ways to study climate change, tell students that today they will be using photos of leaf fossils to track climate change connections between carbon emissions and global temperatures over time.
1. Once students have completed their individual annotation work, direct students to get together in their lab groups to compare their understanding and ask/answer clarifying questions while you circulate and assist as needed.
2. Pass out the Ancient Climate Change reading discussion questions to help support this work and to ensure that the group gets at heart of the major concepts and vocabulary they need to be familiar with before moving on to the leaf activity. See student work samples to see the types of answers students typically gave to these questions. Students reported and demonstrated feeling very comfortable with the background knowledge they needed going into the next phase of this activity.
3. As a large group take 5 minutes to check in for any additional, global clarifying questions or comments using the spokesperson protocol.
And now…on to Day 2. Time to work with our leaf data and connect it to ancient climate change!