Climatologists for a Day: Explore why the Earth is getting warmer

§ January 19th, 2011 § Filed under Computers and Technology, Current Events, High School, Middle School, Science § No Comments

With mountain-sized snow banks on every street corner, it’s hard to imagine that the Earth is getting warmer. But according to an opinion article by Dale McFeatters in yesterday’s Boston Herald, the U.S. government says that our planet is heating up.

However, scientists don’t agree on why the temperature is rising. Have your students pretend they are climatologists for a day to help them examine the topic of climate change.

Activity
Read the Boston Herald article “Bottom line seems to be warmer Earth.” The article presents two reasons for temperature change:

1) Greenhouse gasses trap heat in the atmosphere.

2) The temperature increase is “part of a long-term cyclical variation.”

Vote with your feet
Have your students stand on different sides of the room to represent which reason they believe is causing warmer temperatures. Designate a different wall for greenhouse gasses, cyclical variation, and another reason not mentioned in the article.

After, have students break into groups to research the reason they chose. They can search the online Boston Herald Smart Edition, and use other internet resources to find information to back up their answer. Then ask students to vote with their feet again. Did anyone change their mind?

This activity is designed for students in grades 8-12. It can complement science, current events, and computer classes.

Please review the article prior to sharing it with your students, as the Boston Herald is written for all audiences.

If you need help finding the article for discussion, please contact Julie Burridge.

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