Can Carbon Dioxide Act Like a Greenhouse Gas?

This Can Carbon Dioxide Act Like a Greenhouse Gas? lesson plan also includes:

Ninety-seven percent of scientists who study climate agree that human activity is warming the planet. Learners explore carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, a gas causing this warming, through a hands-on experiment. Once complete, they must determine whether their data supports the question "Can carbon dioxide really act like a greenhouse gas?"

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Activity fits in a unit on greenhouse gases, global warming, or as an extension during a unit on photosynthesis
  • Add more questions to the conclusion such as, "How do you put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere?" or "What is a carbon footprint?" and end with questions such as, "How can you lower your carbon footprint?" or "How can entire communities lower their carbon footprint?" 
Classroom Considerations

  • Depending upon the length of classes, the lab may take two to three days
  • Each group requires four cups of soil, one heat lamp, and a fair amount of other materials 
Pros

  • Provides the lab report form
  • Lab report includes conclusion questions
Cons

  • Photos do not effectively show the lab setup in terms of the tubing to the flask
Common Core

NGSS