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Climate Status Investigations
Department of Energy
National Energy Technology Laboratory
Curriculum Grid
Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Day ten
Day One Day 1:

Special Delivery-Opinion (Language Arts)
Too Cool For School (Science)
Parts Per Million (Math)
Acting Out Energy (Social Studies)
Totally Cubular (Extension Activity)

Special Delivery
Warns students of the rising greenhouse gas emissions & Opinion Activity, Ascertains pre-knowledge

Too Cool for School
Examines the effects of a greenhous

Parts Per Million (ppm)
Demonstrates PPM in emissions

Acting Out Energy
Looks at the history of various energy sources

Totally Cubular


Day one - Quick view

In this first segment, students are introduced to the concept of global climate change and then engage in an opinion activity to state and defend opinions. Students learn about the greenhouse effect, and begin to understand how energy use has changed over time, and the implications of daily energy use.  Students also begin to consider the trade-offs between environment, economy, and social equity as they become familiar with the primary decision-making tool, the Decision Grid, which they will use over the course of the curriculum.

Special Delivery, Opinion Activity - The objective of this activity is to introduce students to a variety of viewpoints. Students are asked a series of statements about Global Climate Change and are asked to form a human graph demonstrating their position. For example, students may be asked their opinion of a statement like 'All SUV's should be outlawed' or 'Nuclear power should be the primary energy source nationwide'.  Students are instructed to take into consideration aspects of economy, equity, and environment. A human graph is created by students migrating to one area of the classroom or teaching space based on their opinion to a question or value statement. The teaching space is then divided into areas representing the opinions "Highly Agree", "Agree", "Undecided", "Disagree" and "Highly Disagree". Teachers challenge students (especially those at either extreme of the spectrum) to explain their position and the opposing position, and to find points of agreement.  By raising awareness of different points of view, children learn to stay open-minded and become more willing to focus on commonalities rather than differences.

Too Cool for School: The Greenhouse Effect - Students create a model greenhouse and measure temperature changes. They learn how trace gases, including water vapor and carbon dioxide act to trap radiation and help warm the planet.  Discussion about how a greenhouse works, as well as the usefulness of models in understanding phenomena.  Teachers can talk about the "Goldilocks Principle" where Mars has too thin an atmosphere and is too cold, Venus has too thick an atmosphere, and it too hot, while Earth is just right.

Parts Per Million - In this activity, students observe that unexpected things may be present in the environment even though they are not visible; students learn how to explain this phenomenon. Students perform a serial dilution of food coloring to demonstrate different concentration levels, and learn to differentiate between parts per million (ppm) and parts per billion (ppb).

Acting Out Energy: Historical Skits - Students understand the historical development of a variety of energy sources, and understand how the development of different energy sources has shaped their everyday lives including heating the home, using transportation, and working in various occupations. Students create a timeline to compare and contrast the history of energy sources Students discover how energy use has increased over time while transferring the lesson to the global effects of their daily choices.

Extension: Totally Cubular - In this activity, students will use a vocabulary cube to reinforce environmental climate change and energy terminology. Students will understand the language arts concepts of simile, metaphor, depiction, sentence formation, antonym, and synonym.

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