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Author

Lynn Kirby

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 50 minutes
  • Experiments
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Greenhouse Effect - Investigating Global Warming

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Synopsis
  • This lesson plan includes detailed directions for an experiment on the effect of carbon dioxide on Earth's atmosphere, information on the greenhouse effect, and conclusion questions for students. 
  • Students will create three environments, hypothesize which environment will result in the greatest temperature change, collect data using temperature probes and computer graphing software, analyze the data for each environment, and draw conclusions about the greenhouse effect. 
Teaching Tips

Positives 

  • In the experiment, students will record the temperatures in three beaker environments, a control group environment with no plastic wrap, an environment with plastic wrap, and an environment with plastic wrap and increased carbon dioxide levels.
  • The resource includes two data tables for students to record temperature data and a worksheet with analysis and conclusion questions.
  • The lesson plan provides a clear outline of the objective, background reading, instructions for students, and an answer key for the conclusion questions.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of the Earth's atmosphere, global warming, and greenhouse gases.
  • Students will need access to the Logger Pro program or similar digital data collection program and a data collection device for digital data collection. Students should be familiar with Logger Pro before they begin the experiment.

Differentiation 

  • Students who are unfamiliar with automatic data collection could collect the data manually. 
  • Science classes could discuss the following follow-up questions:
    • What would happen if the Earth had no atmosphere?
    • What would happen if there were no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
    • What are some ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
  • Other resources on this topic include this Khan Academy video on the greenhouse effect, this interactive simulation of the greenhouse effect, and this lesson on the chemistry of the greenhouse effect.
Scientist Notes
The procedures and steps in experimenting with the greenhouse effect to understand the concept of global warming are appropriate. Safety measures and protocols applicable in the resource are valid, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
      • D1.3.6-8. Explain points of agreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a supporting question.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.9 Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
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