Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students investigate the topic of geoengineering. Working in groups students analyse one geoengineering scheme and justify it scientifically and technologically, and assess its environmental and social costs and benefits. Students then create a presentation to share their analysis with the class.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand the role of geoengineering in addressing climate change.
  • Students recognise that there are costs and benefits associated with geoengineering solutions.
  • Students understand some of the environmental costs of geoengineering.
  • Students understand some of the social costs of geoengineering.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, ICT capability.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 7 Science

  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE120)
  • Water is an important resource that cycles through the environment (ACSSU222)
  • Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS124)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems using scientific language and representations using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS133)

Year 8 Science

  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)
  • Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS139)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems using scientific language and representations using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS148)

Syllabus OutcomesSC4-11PW, SC4-4WS, SC4-9WS, SC4-12ES

Topic: Climate change

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee discussion and facilitate activity

Resources required: Internet access, student worksheet, presentation program (PowerPoint or Prezi).

Digital technology opportunities: Presentation creation (PowerPoint or Prezi), digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for homework or extension.

Keywords: Climate change, global warming, geoengineering, ethics, social, future generations, impacts.

 

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goal: Through this activity students will understand the role of geoengineering in addressing climate change. They learn that there are costs and benefits associated with geoengineering solutions, including environmental and social costs and benefits.

Teacher content information: Technology has an important role to play in addressing the impacts of climate change. Geoengineering is one such solution. However, it's a solution that requires 'tinkering' with the Earth's climate to counteract the effects of global warming and climate change. It's not simply a matter of installing a large fan and blowing the clouds in the right direction; geoengineering solutions are complex and expensive, and range from cloud seeding to removing carbon from the atmosphere to installing giant mirrors in space to deflect solar energy. Furthermore, many geoengineering solution carry significant risks.

The general risk associated with geoengineering is that we simpl

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What are the costs and benefits of geoengineering?

Imagine that you are preparing a sales pitch to deliver to an executive at NASA (played by the teacher), who will be funding the most promising geoengineering projects in a bid to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.

You will need to gather enough information to cover the following points:

  • A description of the technology proposed in your scheme and a scientific justification for the proposed technology (e.g. it will reduce radiant heat by reflecting it into outer space);
  • How will you sell your scheme?
  • Why is your scheme the most promising?
  • What are the environmental benefits of your scheme?
  • What are the potential social, ethical or moral costs and how can these be justified and minimised?

If no information exists online for the final point, you will need to imagine what these costs might be and explain your position.

You will need to create a presentation (PowerPoint or Prezi) that answers the

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