Interpretations: Reading the Book of Earth

In this activity, students graph and analyze methane data, extracted from an ice core, to examine how atmospheric methane has changed over the past 109,000 years in a case study format. Calculating the rate of change of modern methane concentrations, they compare the radiative forcing of methane and carbon dioxide and make predictions about the future, based on what they have learned from the data and man's role in that future.

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Cynthia Fadem
Earlham College
InTeGrate; SERC

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Educators have to request access to instructor materials by filling out a form but will need to do only once. When they are accepted into the system as an instructor, they will have all access to all such designated materials.

This is a quantitative exercise and uses a spreadsheet program, both of which can be problematic for students. The activity provides several suggestions for helping students through the quantitative and graphing parts of the activity.

This is the second of two case studies that examine the climate system. These case studies can be used independently or together, and there is an overarching teacher's guide that has lecture notes, assessment questions, and background information. [link http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/climate_change/uni...

Student materials do not refer to the source of the data; however, the instructor materials do. Educators should let the students know where the data comes from and suggest that they enter this information in their spreadsheet with the data. The information is also in the slides.