Instructor Materials: Overview of the Carbon, Climate and Energy Resources Module
Summative Assessment: Each unit offers a quiz that can be used as a post-unit summative assessment. The module concludes with students writing a 1–2 paragraph statement in support or dissent of an energy use proposal that they choose from a list. This statement must include their own personal opinion and be well supported with facts and evidence. This statement should draw on multiple lines of evidence supporting the student's position, and as such, could be used to provide the instructor with a comprehensive sense of what the student has learned throughout this module. Learn more about assessing student learning in this module.
Students will identify commonly used logical fallacies and misconceptions about climate science. By the end of this unit, students will be able to distinguish logically valid and invalid statements, and critique common misconceptions about climate science.
Students will explore the different aspects of the carbon cycle on Earth. This includes the original source of all the carbon on our planet, the near ubiquity of carbon, the six principle reservoirs of carbon in the Earth system, and the movement (flux) of carbon between reservoirs. Students will approach the chemical history of carbon by personifying the "journey" of specific carbon atoms throughout geologic time.
This unit looks to the past. Students will be introduced to a few of the different methods of paleoclimatology, with a focus on stable isotope fractionation. They will investigate the greenhouse gas connections of two ancient climate episodes, the cold "Snowball Earth" of the Neoproterozoic Era and the hot "Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum" (PETM) of the Cenozoic Era.
Where do fossil fuels come from? In this unit, students will explore various aspects of fossil fuels, examining coal samples and the processes by which coal, oil, and natural gas form. Students will also learn about the location of energy facilities in their state (coal mines, oil and gas wells, power plants, refineries, and pipelines), and the location of coal, oil, and natural gas resources in the continental United States. Students will also explore data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to learn about fossil fuel production, company level imports, consumption, and electricity generation.
Students will examine data that record the modern increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and attendant increase in average temperatures, and they will investigate the impacts of this infusion of carbon dioxide on various components of the Earth system (atmosphere, cryosphere, oceans).
Unit 6 Moving Forward: Evaluating impacts of modern-day initiatives and proposals affecting the carbon cycle and climate
This unit looks to the future. Students explore nontraditional, carbon- and non-carbon-based energy sources and compare these options to traditional fossil fuels. This unit also endeavors for students to consider what is meant by "sustainability" and the comprehensive implications of exploiting any particular energy source.
Making the Module Work
To adapt all or part of the Carbon, Climate, and Energy Module for your classroom, you will also want to read through
- Instructor Stories, which detail how the Carbon, Climate, and Energy Module was adapted for use at three different institutions, as well as our guide to
- Adapting InTeGrate Modules and Courses for Your Classroom, which outlines how to effectively use InTeGrate modules and courses.