Dancing Our Way through the Carbon Cycle: Climate Change, Carbon, and the Greenhouse Effect (Day 2 of 2)

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Students will be able to link the phenomena of the greenhouse effect to the processes of the carbon cycle and our current discussion on climate change.

Big Idea

Use movement to help students connect the carbon cycle and energy transformations to the our big picture conversation about climate change!

Notes for the Teacher

This year, I've started to focus in on kinesthetic learning strategies that get kids moving and expressing themselves in a way we don't typically employ in high school.  This is Day 2 of a two day lesson using kinesthetic techniques to reinforce our concepts of the carbon cycle and greenhouse effect in relation to climate change.  On Day 1, I introduced the concept of tableau and gave student groups time to brainstorm, organize, plan, and delegate in preparation for today's share out of performances.   

Check out this great video for in depth information about the structure and benefits of tableau in the classroom.

 I also like this What is Tableau? document that you can use as background information for yourself as you prepare your lesson or you can use it or adapt it for use with your students if you would like.  I prefer to keep the initial directions minimal rather than do an in-depth study of tableau; students can get mired down and that just keeps them from engaging with the learning process and experience.  If students ask me for additional support, I share documents or show them this example video below that I created that you can see below.  In the first section of the clip, there is music and voiceover of a poem being read that we created movement for while in the second section, there is no voiceover.

I can't wait to hear your experiences working with tableau and movement strategies!


The Classroom Flow: Performance Time!

40 minutes

1.  Allow the groups about 5 minutes to get prepared for their tableau performance.

2.  Announce that each group will perform their tableau in random order without telling the class what their topic is beforehand.  Here is a video of a student pair who did their take on this assignment on their own and presented after an absence.

3. When a group has finished their performance, make sure the audience claps!  Ask the group to stand in the front and write out the following protocol for audience discussion on the board:

I'm seeing...
I'm thinking...
I'm wondering…

4.  Have audience members share out responses to these three questions in order without the presenting group saying anything in response.  You can use the informal popcorn approach, the more structured spokesperson protocol, or any other share out method you prefer.  This entire process should only take 3 minutes.

5.  Allow the presenting group to respond to the see/think/wonder responses and then ask them to perform their short tableau a second time.  Overall, each group experience should take about 10 minutes.

  • Note: The see/think/wonder protocol from Harvard's Visible Thinking resources on their Project Zero website link is taken from the visual arts field but has many connections to the scientific method:  seeing relates to observations, thinking connects to inferences, and wondering asks more/far-reaching questions.  Students tend to need practice differentiating between what they see and what they infer and this is a great way to point out the differences between those two distinct categories of knowledge and thinking.

The Classroom Flow: Using Writing to Connect to Climate Change

10 minutes

1.  Thank the students for their hard work today and ask them to check out the prompt on the board:

How do the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect relate to climate change?

2.  Use the spokesperson protocol to allow them to discuss in their small groups and share out with the class. 

  • Note:  I typically keep my share out discussion very general and student-directed by saying "Tell me about your group's conversation" or "Share with us some of your conversation about climate change and the carbon cycle/greenhouse effect."  By keeping my remarks open-ended, students tend to pick a more diverse range of comments to share which can then generate even richer discussions within the large group.  


3.  Tell students that their assignment for tonight will be to write a paragraph to answer this prompt question.  If there is time, allow them to begin their draft in class.  I've included a sample of a student prompt response for you to see.  I think the only shifts I would make for next year would be to have a specific vocabulary list I wanted students to use in their draft and to require some sort of diagram to go with their writing.  Looking forward to hearing your classroom shifts and ideas!