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One degree warmer

March 21, 2001
Web posted at: 2:07 PM EST (1907 GMT)

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Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Discuss global warming.
  • Identify causes of global warming.
  • Analyze data and determine if global warming is a threat to the planet.

Standards

Benchmarks On-Line

The physical setting, the earth, grades nine-12

High school students should know that weather (in the short run) and climate (in the long run) involve the transfer of energy in and out of the atmosphere. Solar radiation heats the landmasses, oceans, and air. Transfer of heat energy at the boundaries between the atmosphere, the landmasses, and the oceans results in layers of different temperatures and densities in both the ocean and atmosphere.

Materials

CNNfyi.com article, "Global warming,"
Internet access

Suggested time

One class period

Procedure

1. Have students read the CNNfyi.com article, "Global warming," and ask the following:

  • Who is Anthony Chen? What has research shown about the temperature of Earth? Why is there a concern about Earth warming one degree over the last 100 years? Chen says, "We have to look at the big picture, and then figure out what we all must do on the local level." What is the significance and meaning of this statement?
  • Who is Lonnie Thompson? What has he learned about a glacier he'd been studying in the Andes Mountains? Why do you think it is important to study the same glacier over a period of time? Do you think this is an isolated incident? Explain your answer. What is the significance of this event?
  • What are the two chemicals that have been identified as most responsible for global warming? How do these chemicals get into the atmosphere? How do sun rays also contribute to the warming of the planet?

2. Challenge your students to examine the evidence about global warming. Divide the class into small groups. Assist each group in consulting the Internet and other resources to gather information on global warming, including arguments that support or refute the theory. Have each group present its findings to the class.

Assessment

On the board, create two columns: One labeled "Evidence in favor of global warming," the other, "Evidence against global warming." Have groups list bullet points of their findings under each. Direct each student to write a position paper, supported by data, in response to the following question: Is global warming a threat to the planet?

Accommodations

Logical/mathematical
Students can create a visual sequence to answer the question, "Is global warming a threat to the planet?" Students' sequences should be supported by data.



RELATED STORIES:
Lesson Plan: Warming drops Great Lakes to historic lows
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Scientists warn of climate devastation
February 19, 2001
Global warming could flood New York City
April 7, 1998

RELATED SITES:
Hague assembly convenes to resolve Kyoto pact - 11/13/2000 - ENN.com
EPA Global Warming Site: Impacts
The Kyoto Protocol
Worldwatch Institute Home Page
Education Planet Environment,Ecology,Global Warming Page
Global Warming International Center
Global Warming Central a project of the Pace University School of Law Energy Project
WBZ-TV -- School Weather Net

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