Greenhouse Effect Lab
Shorecrest High School
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Feb 21, 2017
Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications
In this lab, students measure temperature changes inside soda bottles (one with CO2 added, the other with only air inside) as incandescent light is shined on them to model the Greenhouse Effect.
AP Environmental Science high school course, could be used in other middle or high school settings
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
This lab is used on one of the first days I begin teaching about climate change. I typically conduct an Albedo lab prior to this, but it is not necessary.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Effect of carbon dioxide on temperature change
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Students use their own data to come to understand the greenhouse effect.
Other skills goals for this activity
Conclusion writing based on data collected.
Description of the activity/assignment
In this simple lab, students collect data to demonstrate basic atmospheric science concepts. Groups of students measure the effect of carbon dioxide on temperature using soda bottles with thermometers inserted. One bottle is filled with air and capped. The second bottle is filled with carbon dioxide using a specific procedure. To conduct the experiment, both bottles are placed under a lamp while students record the increase in temperature over five minutes. The bottle containing carbon dioxide has a greater increase in temperature than the bottle containing air. This lab demonstrates the fundamental concept that underlies climate change science by providing data that are easy for students to interpret.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Students write a conclusion addressing specific points which is graded. Also, I end the lab with a class discussion of what was observed.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips
Activity Description/Assignment:Greenhouse Effect Lab (Microsoft Word 87kB Nov11 10)