The Carbon Cycle & Global Climate Change

Kathryn Hoppe, Green River Community College
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the 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

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This page first made public: Jun 18, 2013


This is two-hour lab exercise based on computer data sets. Students examine records of CO2 levels in the atmosphere as well as annual temperature records for the US and the world.



This lab is designed for introductory science students. I have used it in Oceanography and Geology classes.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Student should know how to read and interprete graphs.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone laboratory exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Global climate records. The difficulty of interpreting the signal-to-noise ratio of large data sets.
Global change over human time scale and interglacial-glacial time scales.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Evaluating and comparing data sets.

Other skills goals for this activity

Reading and interpreting graphs.

Description and Teaching Materials

climate change lab (Microsoft Word 376kB Jun18 13)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Examine answers and hold classroom discussion.

References and Resources