|
Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Teaching with Data > Browse Examples > Modern CO2
Explore Teaching Examples | Provide Feedback

The Modern Atmospheric CO2 Record

The lab activity described here was created by Columbia University Earth and Environmental Science Faculty . This Starting Point page was organized by Robert MacKay , Clark College .
Author Profile

This resource received a gold-star rating from a Panel Peer Review

These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:

  1. scientific accuracy and currency
  2. usability and
  3. pedagogical effectiveness
Reviewers rated the resources:
  1. Accept
  2. Accept with minor revisions
  3. Accept with major revisions, or
  4. Reject.
They also singled out those resources they considered particularly exemplary, which are given a gold star rating.

Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.


This page first made public: Aug 9, 2006

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

Students compare carbon dioxide (CO2) data from Mauna Loa Observatory , Barrow (Alaska) , and the South Pole over the past 40 years to help them better understand what controls atmospheric (CO2). This activity makes extensive use of Excel.

Learning Goals

Context for Use

Appropriate activity for an introductory course in Earth's Climate, Meteorology or Atmospheric Science, Earth Systems Science, or Environmental Science. Students are expected to use Excel spreadsheet program and the activity assumes some knowledge regarding the use of Excel. The activity does provide an Excel help link for students with no prior excel experience.

Teaching Materials

The Modern Atmospheric CO2 Record main page provides link to lab instructions, lab report format instructions, and Excel Help. The lab instructions also includes links to all required data along with other relevant resources. The sample images below compare atmospheric CO2 at Barrow (left) and South Pole (right).
[click either image to enlarge]
Barrow CO2 from CDIAC South Pole CO2 from CDIAC

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity can be used as a lab or as a homework assignment. It takes students approximately 3 hrs to complete. Smaller segments of this activity along with individual images or Quick time animations could also be used for interactive lecture discussion. Introducing basic ideas in class before the assignment is important to help students get started. Students questions related to the completion of this activity help build student interest in classroom discussion.

Assessment

Online teaching materials contain student activities that can help promote student learning. These activities can also be used to help assess student understanding of key idea and concepts.

References and Resources


Chlorophyll from Sea WiFS

Subject

Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Greenhouse gas emissions, Paleoclimate records, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climatology :Atmospheric gases, Biology, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change:Paleoclimate records, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change, Climate Change:Greenhouse gas emissions, Greenhouse effect, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Meteorology:Atmospheric structure and composition, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Greenhouse effect

Resource Type

Activities:Lab Activity, Datasets and Tools:Datasets with Teaching Activities

Special Interest

Global/National Issue, Complex Systems, Quantitative, Visualization

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Quantitative Skills

Graphs

Ready for Use

Ready to Use:Meets Peer Review Standard:Anonymous Peer Review, Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Earth's Cycles:Carbon Cycle, Climate, Biosphere, Atmosphere

Topics

Climate, Atmosphere, Biosphere

See more Browse Examples »