Carbon Through the Seasons

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Meteorologists view an animated video by the Environmental Protection Agency to learn how the carbon cycle works, and then move into groups to analyze and graph actual data of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory. The class discusses patterns and discovers that the concentration varies with the seasons and that, over the years, the annual average value has been increasing. Discuss with your class the reasons behind seasonal variation and global warming. 

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Pros

  • Examines real-life data from 1959 to 2011; consider obtaining even more recent data to include
  • Data tables are colorful and legible, making them easily transferred into graphic form
  • Fabulous and informative animated videos are included within the lesson and in the extension suggestions
  • Incorporates data analysis and graphing skills
Cons

  • None