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WorldWatcher Project: Global Warming Project

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This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Summary

In this exercise, students role-play advisors to various heads of state on the subject of global warming. The web site offers a curriculum to help the students become experts on global warming. It offers lab activities, computer visualizations (using free WorldWatcher software), lots of background readings, and choose-your-own-adventure journeys through the carbon and water cycles. The unit concludes with a summit on global warming at which students give their presentations. For teachers, there is a pedagogical explanation for each activity and rubrics for the presentation and for an energy balance diagram assignment.

Learning Goals

Students will:

Context for Use

This unit is intended to take several lesson periods, depending on which activities the teacher intends to do. There are 33 activities, some of which can be done outside of class and some of which will take less than a class period. The proposed role-play should come at the end of the unit and deals with the international politics of global warming.

Description and Teaching Materials

The Global Warming Unit Plan (more info) links to a whole global warming curriculum, broken into various activities by theme:

It also has links to readings, WorldWatcher Visualization Software for both Mac and PC and teacher resources.

Teachers will also need:

Students will need journals to write in.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This exercise is originally intended for 7-10th graders, but can be adapted in part by upgrading certain activities and making rubrics more demanding. This is a good opportunity for the inclusion of models, data, and quantitative skills development.

Assessment

There are two assignments and rubrics for assessing each: a presentation on temperature change and an energy balance diagram. There is also an article in here about tracking the project through student journaling.

References and Resources

Interactive role-playing exercises dealing with the complicated issue of humanity's dependence on fossil fuels and its consequences include:

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