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Atomic Number, Mass Number, Isotopes and Isotopic Ratios, and Isotopic Compositions as Climate Proxies


As a high school or undergraduate teacher of Chemistry or Earth Sciences, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching atomic number, mass number, isotopes and isotopic ratios, the use of isotopic ratios to calculate temperature, and the use of isotopic composition to recreate past temperatures and climate.

This lesson plan allows students to understand isotopes, isotopic ratios, the relationship between isotopic compositions and temperature, and how isotopic compositions are used to recreate past temperature and climate.

Thus, the use of this toolkit allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Chemistry or Earth Sciences.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Define isotopes and list examples of isotopes
  2. Describe how isotopic ratios can be used to infer temperature
  3. Explain how past temperatures and climate can be determined by analyzing ice-core isotope data
  4. understand natural variability of Earth’s climate and climate change due to anthropogenic causes


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