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Master Lesson List
Fundamentals of Energy
Featured Lesson
Our Town Microgrid Challenge
Climate Change
Featured Lesson
Greenhouse Effect
Energy Efficiency
Featured Lesson
Conducting a Classroom Energy Audit
Green Jobs
Featured Lesson
Exploring Green Jobs
Green Schools
Featured Lesson
Ecological Footprint
Video Clips and Games
Connecticut Frameworks Alignment
Resource Links
CT Legislation and Policy Resources
Upcoming Workshops
Environmental Literature

Climate Change

The Climate Change lesson area is designed to introduce students and teachers to the causes and effects of Global Warming.
Available Lessons:
Mauna Loa in the Classroom
When CO2 collection began at Mauna Loa in 1958, the world was not yet aware of the issue of Climate Change. Years of data collection led to the "Keeling Curve," global collectionss, and comparisons. Through this lesson, students can share in some fo teh scientific discoveries and draw their own conclusions about CO2 levels over time.
What do Concentrations Mean?
Certain gases, such as the greenhouse gases (for example, carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and ozone), occur in the atmosphere in miniscule amounts. In this activity, students will use a dilution experiment to understand the concept of part-per-million (ppm) and part-per-billion (ppb) measurements. Through discussion, they will be able to relate these dilutions to concentrations of gases in our atmosphere.
Human Activity and Climate Change
The concentrations of greenhouse gases GHG are increasing. The emissions are not uniformly distributed globally. Most of the emissions come from the more developed countries, where power generation, power consumption, and living standards are highest. In this activity, students will examine graphs of GHG emissions and their increases associated with human activity. They will focus on CO2, CH4, N2O, CFCs, and O3. Students will calculate some personal contributions to CO2 emissions.
What is the Carbon Cycle?
The attributes of the remarkable carbon atom make possible the existence of all organic compounds essential to life on earth. In this exercise, students will explore the carbon cycle and be able to identify carbon sources, sinks, and release agents. From The National Center for Atmospheric Research and the UCAR Office of Programs http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_4_2_14t.htm
CO2 Emissions from Burning Fossil Fuels
The energy content of coal varies depending on the water content and sulfur contaminates within the coal. Burning coal produces the greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide. In addition, the burning of coal produces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which contribute to smog and acid rain. This laboratory experiment measures CO2 emissions from various types of coal using CBL probes and graphing technologies. Using a Bunsen burner, a ring stand and wire gauze, four types of coal are burned, the gaseous material entrapped using an inverted funnel. Adapted from: Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program in Environmental Science, The Emission of CO2 from the Burning of Fossil Fuels by: Childers, Dileo & Hall
Where in the World is Carbon Dioxide?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) provides the bubble in your soda pop and the "rise" in your baked goods. But it is also a very significant greenhouse gas. CO2 is important in maintaining the earth's average temperature of about 15°C (59°F). This laboratory experiment will help to explain the concepts of 'sources' and 'sinks' as they relate to CO2. From The National Center for Atmospheric Research and the UCAR Office of Programs (http://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_4_2_17t.htm)
CT CAPT Embedded Performance Tasks
The Connecticut Department of Education publishes Curriculum Embedded Tasks for teachers to use in preparing their students for statewide testing. The following are the state materials related to energy.
Stabilization Wedges Game
This lesson and game was created to emphasize the need for early action in order to find solutions to the greenhouse gas problem. This game introduces the concept that no single action will be sufficient and only through a combination of many actions will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the next 50 years be avoided. Adapted from: Stabilization Wedges: A Concept and Game
The Carbon Cycle Game
By rolling a die, students will simulate a molecule of carbon's movement throughout various sinks and sources within the carbon cycle
Your Source of Energy
In the first part of this activity students will explore the role the sun plays in providing much of the Earth’s energy through photosynthesis. Students will make connections between energy from the sun and the energy in the food they eat. They will also make connections between the energy from the sun and other forms of energy they use in their daily lives. The second part of the activity asks students to locate the commercial electric generators in their state. Students will explore an Energy Information Administration data set to better understand electricity generation in the state. These lessons have been adapted from Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Energy for Missouri: Today and Tomorrow.
Ecological Footprint
The Ecological Footprint measures the amount of renewable and nonrenewable resources that are used by our activities. Ecologically productive land area is required to support everything that we eat or use, and also to absorb the wastes we create. Worldwide there are 4.7 biologically productive acres available per person, and this doesn’t include the needs of all of the plants and animals. A growing world population will reduce the number of acres available per person.
Connecticut and Climate Change
Climate Change will have many affects on the world, including loss of glaciers, rising sea level, species extinctions, habitat changes, changes in storms and rainfall levels. But what will happen here in Connecticut? The US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists have published materials specific to Connecticut which can help teachers and students understand the local affects of this complex issue.
How does the electricity I use compare to the national average?
The impact electricity has on air emissions is determined by the fuel mix used to generate the electricity. The fuel mix varies according to location and fuel availability. Determin the fuel mix of the electricity you use with an EPA interactive site, and compare that to the fuel mix and air emissions in other parts of the country, and the nation's average.
Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse effect and its link to Climate Change can be an abstract concept for some students. This lesson ties together readings and an experiment that help students apply information to a lab situation. The lesson includes readings from NEED.org, and an inquiry lab measuring the effect of carbon dioxide and temperature change in an enclosed environment.
Personal Wedges Game
This lesson and game was created to empower students to decrease CO2 emissions in their lives now and provide ways they can continue to decrease CO2 emissions over the next 50 years. The game was designed to be used in combination with the Stabilization Wedges Game. This combination allows students to see the contributions of CO2 on a world wide basis and then bring it to a more personal level. As with the Stabilization Wedges, the overarching message is that reduction of CO2 emissions will not be done with a singe action but with a combination of many actions built upon over years. Adapted from: Stabilization Wedges: A Concept and Game http://www.princeton.edu/~cmi/resources/stabwedge.htm