Activity Introduction

greenhouseQuick summary: Students investigate the role of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, their contribution to the greenhouse effect and their influence on the Earth’s temperature. As part of this activity students are asked to design, implement and observe an experiment simulating the greenhouse effect. Finally, students will reflect on their learning by comparing CO2 and temperatures on Earth to those on Venus.

These activities “… are an invaluable tool for teachers to address climate change in an educationally relevant, scientifically sound, and action-­based way.” – Tim Flannery (Read more)

Learning goals:

  • Students understand the composition and effect of greenhouse gases, particularly their effect on the temperature of the Earth.
  • Students design, implement and observe an experiment simulating the greenhouse effect.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priorities: Sustainability OI.1.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 10 Science

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • Plan, select and use appropriate investigation methods, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods (ACSIS199)
  • Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to systematically and accurately collect and record data (ACSIS200)
  • Evaluate conclusions, including identifying sources of uncertainty and possible alternative explanations, and describe specific ways to improve the quality of the data (ACSIS205)

Syllabus OutcomesSC5-6WS, SC5-7WS, SC5-12ES

Topic: We Are the Weather Makers

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity, facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Pen and paper OR access to online drawing tool (Sketchpad), Internet access, student worksheet. In addition, each group conducting the experiment will need:

  • A Seed tray
  • Soil
  • Seeds
  • Water
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Thermometer

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

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

Key reading from We Are the Weather Makers: Chapter 2 – The Great Aerial Ocean

Further reading from the book: Chapter 3 – The Greenhouse Gases, Chapter 17 – Danger Ahead

Keywords: Greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, CO2, experiment.

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

Cool Australia would like to acknowledge:

  • Tim Flannery
  • David Harding, Rose Iser, Sally Stevens
  • Text Publishing and Purves Environmental Fund
  • Climate Council
climate-council-logo textlogo_type purves_environ

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

co2-boardTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity students will understand the composition and effect of greenhouse gases, particularly their effect on the temperature of the Earth. As part of this activity students are asked to design, implement and observe an experiment simulating the greenhouse effect.

Teacher content information: “Gases in the atmosphere absorb some forms of radiative energy. In particular, greenhouse gases, which are transparent to the visible and ultraviolet radiation we receive from the Sun, absorb heat energy that is radiated by the Earth’s surface back towards space. The greenhouse gases re-radiate this heat energy in all directions, and some of it returns to the Earth’s surface, making it warmer than it would be otherwise.

Greenhouse gases are natural constituents of the atmosphere, and the natural greenhouse effect raises the Earth’s surface temperature by 330C. Without this natural greenhouse effect, the Earth’s surface wou

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Did you know there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any point in the last 800,000 years?

Read the text from We Are the Weather Makers and answer the question below:

greenhouse-gases

What do you think our planet would look like if the surface temperature was at boiling point?

Part 1. Draw the greenhouse effect

Working independently, create an image that demonstrates the existence and effect of greenhouse gases. Your image should include the earth, effect of the gases, the passage of heat and sunlight, and should include descriptive labels.

You can draw your image using pencil and paper or use the online Sketchpad tool.

Part 2. Greenhouse experiment

Working collaboratively design an experiment to show the ‘greenhouse effect’. Your experiment should involve the following materials:

  • A Seed tray
  • Soil
  • Seeds
  • Water
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Thermometer
  • Work collaboratively to design and conduct the experiment.

Work independently to answer the questions abo

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