InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources > Student Materials
InTeGrate's Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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For the Instructor

These student materials complement the Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.

Student Materials

Welcome Students!

The goals of this teaching module are: (1) to get you to correlate the movement of carbon between Earth reservoirs with climate change in Earth history; (2) to critically evaluate statements about the relationship between climate and the carbon cycle; and (3) to develop an understanding of fossil fuel formation — all with the aim of giving you the tools you need to (4) assess the impact of various policy proposals on the carbon cycle and human society.

Here is what you will need for each unit:

Unit 1

Grid for evaluating statements about climate change

Activity handouts:

Word format: What Are Logical Fallacies? (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 45kB Aug10 16)

PDF format: What Are Logical Fallacies? (PDF) (Acrobat (PDF) 117kB Aug10 16)

YouTube video, which presents a few bombastic statements about climate change: Carbon & Climate Change - Find the Fallacy
Your goal will be to identify any misconceptions and illogical errors and explain your reasoning.

Unit 2

Link to the pre-class video series that you should view (on the NPR website): Climate Connections

Pre-class video worksheet:

Word format: "Climate Connections" video worksheet (Microsoft Word 233kB Aug11 16)

PDF format: "Climate Connections" video worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 257kB Aug11 16)

Think/pair/share activity about carbon in the Earth system — handout:

Word format: Engage: Where's the carbon? (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 27kB Jun3 14)

PDF format: Engage: Where's the carbon? (Acrobat (PDF) 68kB Jun3 14)

YouTube video about the origins of carbon (thermonuclear fusion in stars): Carbon Nucleosynthesis

Carbon cycle game "rolls" handout

Word format: Carbon cycle dice game (Microsoft Word 201kB Jun12 17)

PDF version: Carbon cycle dice game (Acrobat (PDF) 314kB Aug6 18)

"Reservoirs and fluxes" activity handout

Word format: Reservoirs and fluxes activity (Microsoft Word 149kB Aug11 16)

PDF version: Reservoirs and fluxes activity (Acrobat (PDF) 206kB Aug11 16)

Unit 3

Foraminiferid coiling direction as paleoclimate proxy

Spreadsheet: Foram coiling direction activity data / graph - student version (Excel 15kB Mar13 16)

Worksheet as a Word document: Foram coiling direction activity worksheet - student worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 33kB Aug16 16)

Worksheet as a PDF: Foram coiling direction activity worksheet - student worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 66kB Aug16 16)

YouTube video - Isotope Fractionation: a video introduction

Vostok ice core activity (δD)

Student spreadsheet: Vostok ice core data (student spreadsheet) (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 126kB Jun21 14)

Student worksheet as a Word document: Vostok ice core activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 158kB Aug16 16)

Student worksheet as a PDF: Vostok ice core activity (Acrobat (PDF) 117kB Aug16 16)

(Optional) PETM activity

Microsoft Word document version: PETM data comparison activity (students' copy) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 2.2MB Aug16 16)

PDF version: PETM data comparison activity (students' copy) (Acrobat (PDF) 2.1MB Aug16 16)

Unit 4

Compare and Contrast Oil and Coal Resources
See video, Coal, Oil and Natural Gas (6 min 47 sec).
Work in pairs to arrange various statements about oil or coal (or both) and place them on a Venn diagram. Cut the various statements apart and place them on the Venn diagram.
Venn diagram activity: comparing and contrasting oil and coal resources
Word format: Compare and contrast oil and coal activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 29kB Aug17 16)
PDF version: Compare and contrast oil and coal activity - PDF version (Acrobat (PDF) 49kB Aug17 16)

Coal Specimen Identification, Coal Ranks and Their Heating Value

Word format: Coal Ranks and Their Heating Value - Student Worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 121kB Aug17 16)
PDF format: Coal Ranks and Their Heating Value - Student Worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 161kB Aug17 16)

Origin of Oil Activity

Word format: Fossil Fuel Formation - The Origin of Oil - Student Worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 38kB Aug16 16)
PDF version: Fossil Fuel Formation - The Origin of Oil - Student Worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 64kB Aug17 16)

Optional Activities and/or Homework.

Calculations of CO2 Production from Burning Fossil Fuels. (10 min)

Using authentic data, you can calculate the amount of CO2 released when a certain quantity of coal is burned, and compare the amount of CO2 produced by burning different fossil fuels. Students examine data relating the increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 in ppm to quantity of CO2 added to the atmosphere over a certain period of time, and see the role of carbon sinks.

Student worksheet
CO2 Production from Burning Fossil Fuels - Student Worksheet (Microsoft Word 74kB Aug17 16)
CO2 Production from Burning Fossil Fuels - Student Worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 99kB Aug17 16)

Optional Homework. (30 min)

This is a three-part activity using online resources and a worksheet. These activities address economic, social, and environmental issues, and incorporate geography.
Part 1. This activity uses an interactive map to locate energy facilities in your state or area (power plants, refineries, pipelines, coal mines, oil and gas wells, etc.), and to locate fossil fuel resources across the nation. The instructor can project the maps in class, or assign this as classwork or homework.
Part 2. Read a spreadsheet to research from which countries various oil companies import their petroleum, and through which port cities oil enters the United States.
Part 3. Research sources of U.S. electricity generation (coal, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear, renewables of various types). Some calculations are required.

Fossil Fuel Formation- online homework - student worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 76kB Aug17 16)
Fossil Fuel Formation- online homework - student worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 123kB Aug17 16)

Unit 5

Watch two short videos about carbon dioxide.

Video 1. Charles Keeling (1928-2005) and NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory from NOAA ESRL (3:49 minutes)
Video about Charles David Keeling and the development of the record of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere.

Video 2. A year in the life of Earth's carbon dioxide from NASA Goddard (3:10 minutes)
A NASA visualization showing plumes of CO2 in the northern hemisphere, and seasonal cycles of CO2.

Gallery Walk Graphs and Questions.

Unit 5 Gallery Walk Activity - Diagrams and Questions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.5MB Aug17 16)
Unit 5 Gallery Walk Activity - Diagrams and Questions - PDF version (Acrobat (PDF) 1.6MB Aug17 16)

Watch two short videos about the consequences of ocean acidification. These videos are embedded in the Ocean Portal website from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Video 3. Ocean Acidification by the Alliance for Climate Education (3:01 minutes)
This animated short video provides an excellent, easy to understand overview of CO2, and how it causes ocean acidification. The video discusses the effects of ocean acidification on sea creatures, the marine food chain, and human impacts.

Video 4. Oyster Farmers Facing Climate Change, a Vimeo video from Benjamin Drummond and Sara Steele (4:36 minutes)
This video shows the effect of ocean acidification on the biosphere, as oyster farmers tell of the effects of changing ocean chemistry on oysters.

Optional Activities and/or Homework.

1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Household Carbon Footprint Calculator

Students use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Household Carbon Footprint Calculator (or direct link to footprint calculator) to estimate their annual carbon dioxide emissions.

Student Worksheet
Online activity - How much carbon dioxide do you generate? Student Worksheet (Microsoft Word 37kB Aug17 16)
Online activity - How much carbon dioxide do you generate? Student Worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 81kB Aug17 16)

2. Graphing authentic data on CO2 changes, 1958–present

Using authentic CO2 data from Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, you can produce graphs of the Keeling Curve using Excel. This activity requires access to a computer with Excel spreadsheet program. Mauna Loa Observatory CO2 data are available from NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. Click on the Data tab, and on the Data page, look for:

Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data
Mauna Loa CO2 annual mean data

A. Convert the annual data to a graph

Copy the data into an Excel file and produce a scatter plot graph. You will need to click on the "Data" tab, and look for the "Text to columns" data tool. This tool will separate the data from the web page into individual columns. You will only need two of the data columns — year and CO2 concentration.

Select the year and mean columns. Make a "scatter plot" of the data in these two columns (year and mean or average CO2 concentration). (Click on "Insert" tab, and look for Scatter graph with lines.) Year should be on the X-axis, and CO2 should be on the Y-axis. Label the Y-axis for "Carbon dioxide (ppm)", and scale the axis from a minimum of 250 to a maximum of 450. Label the X-axis as "Year".

Right click on the data points and click on "Format Data Series". Using "Marker options" and "Marker fill", change the data markers to the smallest possible black dots (size 2). Right click on the data points and click on "Format Data Series". Use "Line color" to make a thin red line. Stretch your graph as necessary so that you can see the individual data points, connected by the red line.

B. Convert the monthly data to a graph

Repeat the basic procedure outlined in Part A, above, for the monthly CO2 data (Data from March 1958 through April 1974), following the additional instructions below.

Copy the data into Sheet 2 tab in Excel. Use the "Text to columns" data tool. Put all column heading labels into one row at the top. Where data are missing, it appears as -99.99. Delete these values and leave those cells blank, or you will end up with a very odd graph.

Select the decimal date column, and the average column. Make a "scatter plot" of the data in these two columns. Label the axes and make the markers and line as you did in Part A. Set marker options to NONE. Use "Line color" to make a thin red line. Stretch your graph as necessary so that you can see the individual data points, connected by the red line.

Unit 6

Before coming to class, you need to read each proposal in the document below and:

1. identify which carbon reservoirs are impacted.

2. comment on whether the submitted proposal is presented by a credible organization.

3. identify any logical fallacies that may be presented within the proposal.

4. evaluate the scientific validity of the proposal.

Here are the proposals:

Word format Unit 6 Proposals (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 40kB Aug17 16)

PDF format Unit 6 Proposals (Acrobat (PDF) 81kB Aug17 16)


     

These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »