In this lesson students continue to learn about earth's atmosphere in terms of how solar radiation interacts with gases. In addition students learn about the carbon cycle and how there is an increase in greenhouse gases which effects climate change. This lesson incorporates some topics which I have not previously taught in my chemistry class, but I found that they fit well with this unit in terms of NGSS.
This lesson also aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectation ESS2-4: Use a model to describe how variations in the heat flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate. It does so because students are presented with ideas related to greenhouse gases, radiation, and climate change.
This lesson also aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectation ESS1-1: Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation. It does so because students learn about solar radiation and the types of radiation that the sun emits to the earth.
For this lesson computers are needed for the computer activities as well as several resources needed for the class demonstration including:
To begin the lesson I show students the first slide of the PowerPoint and pose to them the following questions:
1. What is radiation?
2. What is a greenhouse gas?
I then give students time to discuss the questions with their groups. After about 3-4 minutes, or when I can tell that students are done talking I ask students to share out.
I get varied responses from students. Most students have heard of radiation in terms of a negative thing from bombs. Surprising many of my students did not know what greenhouse gases were, but simply thought of the place where you keep plants when they hear the word greenhouse.
This is a video of part of one group's discussion. This class had lots of ideas about radiation including how it is just energy, how it comes from the sun, how it comes from microwaves, and hot its both good and bad.
For this part of the lesson I set up a demonstration experiment with students. The goal of this experiment is to see if the temperature inside of a bottle changes when there is additional carbon dioxide present.
I chose to just measure everything myself, but I also could have had student volunteers set up the experiment for the class as well.
For the experiment I show students were they will be recording information on their activities paper as we continue the experiment but let them know we will come back to it throughout the lesson.
I let the bottles sit for about 10 minutes and then put outside. Here is a picture of the bottles outside. I found that it was easier if I put them in a box so they didn't blow over.
I then let the bottles sit outside for about 20-30 minutes and come back to them towards the end of the lesson.
To help reinforce students' understanding of the carbon cycle I have them play the carbon cycle game. I give students instructions for the activity on the 16th slide of the PowerPoint and have them fill in information about where they traveled and how they got there on the second page of their notes graphic organizer.
The game can be found on the Windows 2 the Universe website.
This game is nice because it allows students to act as a carbon atom and see where they travel.
Here is an example of one student's summary of their game experience. I like how they show the different places where they traveled and then in purple arrows explain how they got there.
This is a second example of a students summary of their game on the second page of their notes. This student explained in sentences how they got to each of their four destinations.
After students have played the carbon game I synthesize what they have learned about carbon with greenhouse gases and radiation by talking about global climate change. I do this by showing them slides 17-22 of the PowerPoint while they finish their notes graphic organizer.
For the final part of this lesson I have students perform a computer simulation to better understand radiation, greenhouse gases, and the impact of both of them on earth's climate.