This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.
The ONLY climate change lab: What to teach if you only have one lab period to cover climate change
Topic: Climate change
- Assign each group of students an anonymous ice core location, only lat/long is given as a clue to its identity. The ice cores have temperature and CO2 (or any other greenhouse gas, if CO2 is unavailable) data available from 18,000-7000 years ago obtained from the NOAA Paleoclimatology website (more info) .
- The data (CO2 and temperature) will be given to the students in an Excel spreadsheet at the beginning of the lab and the students must make a graphical representation of the data to analyze and interpret.
- The students also will use the NOAA website and the lat/long that was given to determine where their core is from and when it was collected.
- The students will then present all of their data and interpretations to the class.
- After the presentations, the groups will use data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center to make a graphical representation of the current available atmospheric CO2 concentrations nearest to their specific location and will compare it to the past levels found in ice cores.
- Students will answer several questions in writing throughout the lab.
Students should be able to do the following:
- Understand the link between CO2 (or greenhouse gases) and temperature
- Be able to work with real data
- Be confident in searching the NOAA website
- Create graphs in Excel
- Perform qualitative analysis and interpretation of the ice core data
The assessment will be done on the questions answered by each group throughout the lab.
- What correlation did you find between temperature and CO2 from the ice core data?
- What fluctuations did you see in your core?
- How did your data compare with the other groups' data?
- What are the implications on future temperatures based on the current CO2 levels seen in your ice core data?