Students explore the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 40 years with an interactive online model. They use the model and observations to estimate present emission rates and emission growth rates. The model is then used to estimate future levels of carbon dioxide using different future emission scenarios. These different scenarios are then linked by students to climate model predictions also used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This resource is designed as a module with a storybook or web story, and four activities. In the storybook, the GLOBE Kids investigate colors in the sky and learn how air pollution affects sky color and our health. Learning activities engage students in describing sky color and conditions in the atmosphere, creating a model to learn how sky color and visibility are affected by aerosols, using prisms to explore properties of light and colors, and collecting aerosol samples.

In this lab activity, students use a chemical indicator (bromothymol blue) to detect the presence of carbon dioxide in animal and plant respiration and in the burning of fossil fuels and its absence in the products of plant photosynthesis. After completing the five parts of this activity, students compare the colors of the chemical indicator in each part and interpret the results in terms of the qualitative importance of carbon sinks and sources.