c. The amount of solar energy absorbed or radiated by Earth is modulated by the atmosphere and depends on its composition. Greenhouse gases— such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane— occur naturally in small amounts and absorb and release heat energy more efficiently than abundant atmospheric gases like nitrogen and oxygen. Small increases in carbon dioxide concentration have a large effect on the climate system.

This activity from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory introduces students to the scientific understanding of the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. The activity leads them through several interactive tasks to investigate recent trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Students analyze scientific data and use scientific reasoning to determine the causes responsible for these recent trends. By studying carbon cycle science in a visual and interactive manner, students can learn firsthand about the reasons behind our changing climate.

In this activity, students explore factors that have caused the rise in global temperature over the last century. Educators have the opportunity to assess how modeling activities (the game), analogies (the cake), and mathematical models (graphs) develop and change student mental models.

In this short video, atmospheric scientist Scott Denning gives a candid and entertaining explanation of how greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere warm our planet.

Students model the effect of greenhouse gases on Earth's atmosphere. They find that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are uniquely shaped to catch and pass on infrared radiation, and so they are responsible for the warmth we enjoy on Earth. The children discuss how the addition of greenhouse gases by human activities leads to further warming and what steps we can take to slow it.

Here students use data from the NOAA carbon dioxide monitoring sites, such as Mauna Loa, to graph the Keeling Curve for themselves on large sheets of paper. Each group graphs one year, and the graphs are joined at the end to reveal the overall upward trend. The explanation describes the carbon cycle and how human activities are leading to the overall trend of rising carbon dioxide.

This activity has students examine the misconception that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. Students explore temperature data and report their conclusions to the class. Then students examine techniques of science denial and examine a claim about scientific consensus.

NASA produced white-board animation video explains key concepts about the role and source of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

This online quiz tests knowledge about climate change, its impacts, how we know about earth's climate, and potential solutions.

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