This multi-week project begins with a measurement of baseline consumptive behavior followed by three weeks of working to reduce the use of water, energy, high-impact foods, and other materials. The assignment uses an Excel spreadsheet that calculates direct energy and water use as well as indirect CO2 and water use associated with food consumption. After completing the project, students understand that they do indeed play a role in the big picture. They also learn that making small changes to their lifestyles is not difficult and they can easily reduce their personal impact on the environment.
This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electricity. It also discusses environmental impacts of the dam and others like it.
In this activity, students learn about the urban heat island effect by investigating which areas of their schoolyard have higher temperatures - trees, grass, asphalt, and other materials. Based on their results, they hypothesize how concentrations of surfaces that absorb heat might affect the temperature in cities - the urban heat island effect. Then they analyze data about the history of Los Angeles heat waves and look for patterns in the Los Angeles climate data and explore patterns.
This graphic depicts evidence for a human fingerprint on climate change based on multiple sets of independent observations. The graphic is available to study at three levels - basic, intermediate, and advanced understanding, with substantial support for students to investigate the evidence themselves and draw their own conclusions.
This map shows how much electrical power is produced from wind in each state from 1999 through 2010. The animation shows a general increase in the amount of wind power produced per state and the number of states producing it.
This short activity provides a way to improve understanding of a frequently-published diagram of global carbon pools and fluxes. Students create a scaled 3-D visual of carbon pools and net fluxes between pools.
In this video segment, a team of scientists seeks evidence to support their hypothesis that atmospheric warming -- either now or in the past -- may explain why water has formed beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet, causing ice streams that flow much more quickly than the rest of the ice sheet. This phenomenon has important implications for potential sea level rise.