Lab 8: Slowing Down an Amplifying Greenhouse Effect
The lab activity described here was developed by Candace Dunlap of TERC for the EarthLabs project.
Summary and Learning Objectives
In Part A, students learn about the role that technology can play in reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. In Part B, students take on the role of a science journalist writing a blog on a promising carbon reduction technology for WIRED, a design and technology magazine. In their research, students will research, evaluate and evaluate the pros and cons of the technology and present their findings to their class and/or others.
After completing this investigation, students will be able to:
- Evaluate the pros and cons of potential technologies designed to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Overview and Teaching Materials
Detailed overview of what students will do in each lab activity, how long it will take, and what materials are required to complete the lab.
In Part A, students explore different types of technology that purport to reduce the amount of CO2in the atmosphere. They begin by watching a video about a young middle school age student who develops a way to take CO2out of the air for a science experiment. Next, using an interactive developed for a NOVAScienceNow program, they investigate some pros and cons of carbon sequestration technology.
Time estimate: 1 50 minute class period.
In Part B, students take on the role of a science journalist, writing a blog on a promising carbon reduction technology for WIRED, a design and technology magazine. They research and evaluate the pros and cons of the technology and present their findings to their class and/or others. NOTE: Technologies that students research can include technologies already, technologies in the research pipeline, or technologies only envisioned.
Time estimate: 1 50 minute class period.
Printable MaterialsDownload and print files needed for each lab activity, including images, data tables, and Stop and Think questions.
NOTE: There are no printable materials for this Lab.
Teaching Notes and Tips
General recommendations for classroom implementation.
- If unfamiliar with a hands-on activity in this Lab, consider a practice run before implementation.
- Print out any paper-based materials before starting the lab.
- Have students keep a lab notebook or journal to record important notes, questions, data and findings.
- Consider FLIPPING part of Lab 8. This will save you class time and reduce the need to have computer access in your classroom.
- Discussion questions, Checking In questions and Stop and Think questions can be adapted and used in a variety of ways based on teachers' needs. For example, some questions might make great "DO Now" activities as students enter the classroom or great "exit quizzes" as students leave.
AssessmentThere are several options for assessment of student understanding of material introduced in this lab. Choose from the following, or create your own assessments.
- There are no Stop and Think Questions or written test for Lab 8.
- Part B has a culminating performance assessment that asks students to take on the role of a science journalist blogger analyzing interesting new technologies and designs that are currently reducing or have the potential to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Teachers can also use the Discussion at the end of Part B as a learning assessment for groups or the entire class.
- Teachers should consider developing their own rubric to grade the student blogger assessment based on the following benchmarks:
- Explaining how the design or technology works to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Including a visualization of the design or technology;
- Describing where this design/technology is in the design process. Is it already in use or is it still in the development phase?;
- Describing the (pros) potential benefits and (cons) potential drawbacks of the design or technology. For example, are there risks involved? Does it cost too much? and;
- Explaining the potential of this design/technology to mitigate the impact of present and future climate change.
Science StandardsLab 8 supports following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Science and Engineering Practices
1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems
8. Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information
Disciplinary Core Ideas
ESS3.A Natural Resources
ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth's Systems
ESS3.D Global Climate Change
ETS1.A Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
6. Structure and Function
Examples of how students engage with the standards:
Go to Next Generation Science Standards.
Additional ResourcesExplore background information and content extensions related to Lab 8.
- Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
- UNEP:Climate Change Mitigation
- UCAR Center for Science Education
- Consider having students create a media-based project as part of this Lab. A good place for background information, strategies and exemplars can be found at Climate Change in an Age of Media