Using a Mass Balance Model to Understand Carbon Dioxide and its Connection to Global Warming
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/activity_review.html.
- This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
This activity has been extensively reviewed for inclusion in the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network's collection of educational resources. For information the process and the collection, see http://cleanet.org/clean/about/selected_by_CLEAN.
This activity has benefited from input from a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop.
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop. Workshop participants were asked to peruse activities submitted by others in their disciplinary group prior to the workshop. The groups then convened early in the workshop to discuss the materials and make suggestions for improvements. To learn more about this review process, see http://serc.carleton.edu/quantskills/review_processes.html#2004.
This page first made public: Oct 23, 2009
- Use a model to estimate the future concentrations of carbon dioxide under several different assumed emission scenarios.
- Learn how different carbon dioxide emission scenarios influence our best prediction of future global temperatures.
- Learn how a mass balance model applies to the global atmosphere.
- Calibrate a model with recent observations.
- Synthesis results into a well written summary.
- Accurately read graphical information.
- Read and interpolate data from a table of values.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The activity and related links are available on-line at http://www.atmosedu.com/physlets/GlobalPollution/carbon_dioxideQS.htm (archived). This activity works best with a PC, but with proper configuration also works on MAC OS X.
Assignment Question Sheet (Microsoft Word 125kB Jun3 11) for use with online activity.
Assignment Question Sheet (Acrobat (PDF) 95kB Jun3 11) for use with online activity.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Answers to questions (Acrobat (PDF) 386kB Jun3 11)
Follow up discussions in lecture and exam questions are also useful in assessing student understanding.
References and Resources
- Carbon dioxide and life (Acrobat (PDF) 240kB Jul16 04) is a short activity intended to have students closely examine the recent carbon dioxide record.
- What is the fate of CO2 produced by fossil fuel combustion? is an excellent activity related to the carbon cycle for more advanced students.
- Chlorofluorocarbon CFC-12 is a similar modeling activity where students explore chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-12) build-up in the atmosphere.