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Climate Change Course Module

This series of lessons starts off with a hands-on lab using inexpensive materials that shows the impact of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its warming impact on climate change. Next, students will participate in a global citizen science project, Old Weather, which involves students in transcribing primary weather documents from old ship logs. The data is compiled and sent directly to scientists who analyze the data to see changes in climate. On the third day students will take a critical look at two articles that present climate change in two different ways. Lastly, students will create a public service announcement or persuasive letter urging their community members to use more renewable resources and limit their carbon footprint.

Objectives for Day 1

  • Students will conduct a lab to see how an increase in carbon dioxide and heat impacts Earth’s atmosphere.

Objectives for Day 2

  • Students will transcribe old ship logs through the Old Weather website and participate in a global community of citizen scientists.

Objectives for Day 3

  • Students will analyze two articles that provide conflicting information about global warming.

Objectives for Days 4 and 5

  • Students will create a public service announcement or a persuasive letter persuading their community members to use more renewable resources and limit their impact on global warming.

Old Weather Project Page

Academic Standards Addressed

NC Essential Standards

8.L.3.3 – Explain how the flow of energy within food webs is interconnected with the cycling of matter (including water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen). Students know that the flow of energy through ecosystems can be described and illustrated in food chains, food webs, and pyramids (energy, number, and biomass). These are all models that demonstrate how matter and energy is transferred between producers (generally plants and other organisms that engage in photosynthesis), consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact- primarily for food- within an ecosystem. Transfers of matter into and out of the physical environment occur at every level, for example when molecules from food react with oxygen captured from the environment, the carbon dioxide and water thus produced are transferred back to the environment, and ultimately so are waste products, such as fecal material. Decomposers recycle nutrients from dead plant or animal matter back to the soil in terrestrial environments or to the water in aquatic environments. The atoms that make up the organisms in an ecosystem are cycled repeatedly between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.

Next Generation Science Standards

MS-LS1-6 – Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.

[Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on tracing movement of matter and flow of energy.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis.]

Science and Engineering Practices:

  1. Asking questions
  2. NA
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Common Core

8.F.5 – Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function.

ELA RL8.1 – Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text

W8.1 – Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

  1. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
  2. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
  3. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  4. Establish and maintain a formal style.
  5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented