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The Role of CO2

Secondary

Description

In this simulation, students take on the roles of different components of the earth’s surface and atmosphere in order to demonstrate in concrete terms, the greenhouse effect and how human activity is affecting it.  Designed to be played indoors or outdoors, the activity requires a group of 20 or more participants and 20m x 30m of open space.   In addition to instructions detailing the different roles and steps to follow when conducting the simulation, the resource provides background information for the teacher and suggestions for addressing the prerequisite understandings required by the students.

General Assessment

Strengths

The simulation is an excellent teaching tool to help students understand the greenhouse effect.

The activity provides a meaningful outdoor learning opportunity.

There is adequate background information.

Several suggestions for assessment are included.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This lesson will support those courses and units in Science and Geography that address atmospheric composition, the greenhouse effect, carbon chemistry and climate change.  It provides an excellent opportunity to take the learning outdoors.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 9
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Chemistry
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Environmental Chemistry (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 14:Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 9
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
    • Grade 11
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Science 11: The transfer of energy through the atmosphere creates weather and is affected by climate change
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
  • Manitoba
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        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
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      • Science
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        • Weather Dynamics
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      • Geography
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        • Physical Geography 110: The Atmosphere
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Advanced Environmental Science 120: Earth Systems
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
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        • Science 1206: Weather Dynamics
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      • Science
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        • Science 2200: Weather Dynamics
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 3205: The Atmosphere and the Environment
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 9
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        • Environmental Chemistry
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      • Science
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        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Climatology and Meteorology
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 14:Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
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        • Geography 10: Atmospheric Environment
      • Science
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        • Science 10: Weather Dynamics
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 9
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry and the Environment
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Environmental Chemistry (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Climatology and Meteorology
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 14: Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Ontario
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    • Grade 9
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Interactions in the Physical Environment
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
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        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
        • Science (Applied)::Earth and Space Science: Earth's Dynamic Climate
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
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      • Geography
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        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Geographic Foundations: Space and Systems
  • Prince Edward Island
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      • Science
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        • Science 431A: Earth and Space Science, Weather Systems
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science & Technology
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        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Earth and Space
        • Science & Technology: The Earth and Space
        • Science and the Environment: The Earth and Space
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Science 30: Atmosphere and Hydrosphere
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth Science 11: The transfer of energy through the atmosphere creates weather and is affected by climate change
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The activity is designed to explain a vital process; the greenhouse effect.  Students also witness in concrete fashion the impact of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases on surface temperatures.  Students investigate causes/sources of greenhouse gases on their own.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The focus is on explaining the greenhouse effect and illustrating why it is a vital process.  That it is being impacted by human activity is made clear.  While not explicitly addressed, consideration of the social and economic considerations of a warming earth would be a logical next step.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The simulation and culminating discussion do justice to the complexity of the many elements involved in the greenhouse effect.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

The lesson does not include an action project.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory

The assessment activities require students to explain the process and make predictions regarding the future based on their own understanding and assessment of what they have learned.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not an element of the simulation.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The importance of the greenhouse effect in allowing life to exist on Earth is made clear as is the need to maintain the energy balance it provides.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The role-playing aspect of the simulation certainly provides a relevancy to the learning. 

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory

What was happening, what is now happening and what needs to happen as we go forward are made clear in the simulation.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The lesson explores the composition of the atmosphere and the role of the greenhouse effect in maintaining an energy budget that allows life to exist on earth.  There is no attempt to 'steer' students.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

The resource addresses content and concepts in Earth Science, Environmental Science, General Science and Physical Geography.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Students conduct laboratory inquiries prior to simulating the greenhouse effect. Students also conduct their own investigation as to the role of humans in greenhouse gas production.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

Students participate in laboratory activities, role playing and research.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The core learning activity is a simulation.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered

Cooperative learning is not featured in this lesson.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

Several suggestions for student assessment are included.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

Peer teaching is not featured.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered

Case studies are not included.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

Learning extension suggestions encourage students to choose areas for further investigation.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.