Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Quiz on Carbon Cycle

An interactive online quiz to test student’s understanding of the carbon cycle. This quiz by NASA can help students understand the various components of the carbon cycle and their influence on Earth’s climate. 

Students will learn about the processes involved in regulating carbon and the role of atmospheric carbon in the carbon cycle. They will further understand how changes in these components can contribute to climate change. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What are the various components of the Carbon Cycle? 
  2. Discuss how the cycling of carbon through the atmosphere is affected by anthropogenic activities. 
  3. Discuss the difference between carbon sinks and carbon sources using examples.

About the tool

Tool NameCarbon and the climate
DisciplineEnvironmental Sciences: Chemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Cycle, Biogeochemical Cycles
Climate Topic Long-term Cycles and Feedback Mechanisms
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byNASA
Hosted athttps://climate.nasa.gov/
Linkhttps://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/96/quiz-carbon-and-the-climate/
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: Introduction to the Carbon Cycle

An infographic that describes the Carbon Cycle and how anthropogenic activities affect the Carbon Cycle. This infographic by NASA explains how higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities are affecting the natural carbon cycle.

Students will learn about the carbon cycle and the absorption of carbon dioxide by the land and oceans. They will further be introduced to facts and figures regarding the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Discuss the ‘Carbon Cycle’ in the classroom. 
  2. How do anthropogenic activities affect carbon dioxide concentrations? 

About the tool

Tool NameEarth’s carbon cycle is off balance
DisciplineEnvironmental Sciences; Chemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Cycle, Biogeochemical Cycles
Climate Topic Long-term Cycles and Feedback Mechanisms
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelMiddle School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byNASA
Hosted atClimate NASA Website
Linkhttps://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/136/infographic-earths-carbon-cycle-is-off-balance/
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: Carbon Sequestration in Soil

A reading by Judith D. Schwatz for YaleE360, published at the Yale School of the Environment, that describes how carbon is stored in soil. It discusses carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage and carbon sources and sinks. It further highlights how the release of carbon from the soil due to anthropogenic activities can cause global warming. 

Students will learn about ‘soil carbon’ and its role in sequestering carbon dioxide. They will understand the importance of land restoration and some of the techniques and methods utilised to improve soil quality. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is ‘carbon sequestration’?
  2. Discuss the role of soil in the carbon cycle?
  3. Describe some of the methods used to restore land. 

About the tool

Tool NameSoil as Carbon Storehouse: New Weapon in Climate Fight?
DisciplineChemistry, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Cycle, Carbon Sequestration, Carbon Capture and Storage, Carbon Sources and Sinks
Climate Topic Climate Mitigation and Adaptation; Climate and the Lithosphere; Climate and the Atmosphere; Climate and the Biosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byJudith D. Schwatz 
Hosted atYaleE360, published at the Yale School of the Environment
Linkhttps://e360.yale.edu/features/soil_as_carbon_storehouse_new_weapon_in_climate_fight
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: Carbon Sequestration and Climate Change

A reading that describes natural carbon sources and sinks. This reading by Noelle Eckley Selin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, describes how anthropogenic activities alter the concentration of carbon in various sources and sinks, thus, contributing to global warming.

Students will learn about the various types of carbon sinks and sources. They will further understand the importance of the removal of this excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using technologies for carbon capture and storage, and carbon sequestration.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What are the natural sources and sinks of carbon on Earth?
  2. Discuss the importance of carbon sequestration for climate mitigation.
  3. Discuss carbon sequestration through carbon capture and storage technologies.

About the tool

Tool NameCarbon Sequestration
DisciplineChemistry, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Sequestration, Carbon Capture and Storage, Carbon Sources and Sinks
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere; Climate Mitigation and Adaptation; Climate and the Biosphere; Climate and the Lithosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byNoelle Eckley Selin
Hosted atBritannica
Linkhttps://www.britannica.com/technology/carbon-sequestration
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Teaching Module: Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate Change

A teaching module that discusses the carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle. This reading by University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) describes the 2 cycles and details how the components are cycled through different parts of the Earth- atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. 

Students will be introduced to biogeochemical cycles, the processes involved, and how the carbon and nitrogen cycles work. They will further understand how anthropogenic activities potentially alter the functioning of such cycles and how this contributes to climate change.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is the carbon cycle? Describe its components and processes.
  2. What is the nitrogen cycle? Describe its components and processes.
  3. Discuss how biogeochemical cycles influence Earth’s climate?

About the tool

Tool NameBiogeochemical Cycles
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle, Sequestration, Capture and Storage, Sources and Sinks
Climate Topic Long-term Cycles and Feedback Mechanisms; Climate and the Atmosphere, Climate and the Biosphere; Climate and the Hydrosphere, Climate and the Anthroposphere; Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Type of tool Teaching Module
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byUniversity Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Hosted atUCAR Website
LinkLink
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Classroom/ Laboratory Activity: Interactive Quiz on the Water Cycle

An interactive quiz about the Water Cycle. This  quiz by NASA’s Global Climate Change website allows students to test their knowledge about the natural water cycle and its role in Earth’s climate. 

Students will be quizzed on various aspects of the water cycle, including evaporation and precipitation. They will understand the connections between the various components of the water cycle and be introduced to some of the facts and figures associated with these components. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Discuss the ‘Water Cycle’ and its components in the classroom. 
  2. Discuss how climate change can potentially affect the water cycle. 

About the tool

Tool NamePrecipitation and the Water Cycle
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineEnvironmental Chemistry, Water Cycle, Biogeochemical Cycles, Hydrologic Cycle, Condensation, Evaporation, Evapotranspiration, Groundwater, Precipitation, Sublimation
Climate Topic Climate and the Hydrosphere; Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of tool Quiz
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byNASA’s Global Climate Change
Hosted atNASA’s Global Climate Change Website
Linkhttps://climate.nasa.gov/quizzes/water-cycle/
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: The Concrete Problem

A reading that describes how the cement industry contributes to global warming. This reading by Carbon Brief discusses the production of traditional cement and how this contributes to 8% of carbon dioxide emissions globally. It further highlights the projected increase in demand for concrete, particularly in developing countries, and how this could potentially raise emissions further. 

Students will learn about global large-scale cement production and the resulting carbon emissions. They will also learn about alternate and ‘novel’ methods of production that are being researched and the complexities of switching to these modes of production. They will further understand the practical, political and economic complexities with respect to cutting emissions as per global standards. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is cement and how is it produced?
  2. List some of the reasons ‘emissions per tonne of output’ has reduced in cement production? In contrast, why are sector emissions still on the rise? 
  3. Discuss the current ‘roadmap’ of cement production with respect to the 2C scenario.

About the tool

Tool Name‘Q&A: Why cement emissions matter for climate change’
DisciplineChemistry, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineEnvironmental Chemistry, Cement, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Pollution
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere; Climate and the Anthroposphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byJocelyn Timperley, Carbon Brief
Hosted atCarbon Brief Website
Linkhttps://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-why-cement-emissions-matter-for-climate-change
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Video/Microlecture: Precipitation Patterns and Climate Change

A video micro-lecture by Jeff Dozier, University of California, Santa Barbara,  that explains how climate change can affect the water cycle on Earth. 

Students will learn that rising temperatures can affect and change precipitation patterns. They will further understand how such changes can potentially affect communities through examples from the United States.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Discuss the water cycle and its components in the classroom. 
  2. Discuss how climate change induced shifts in precipitation affect communities living in those areas.

About the tool

Tool NameHow Will Climate Change Affect It? – The Water Cycle
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineEnvironmental Chemistry, Water Cycle, Biogeochemical Cycles, Hydrologic Cycle, Condensation, Evaporation, Evapotranspiration, Groundwater, Precipitation, Sublimation
Climate Topic Climate and the Hydrosphere; Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of tool Video/Microlecture (2 mins)
Grade LevelHigh School
LocationGlobal, USA
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byJeff Dozier, University of California, Santa Barbara 
Hosted atNational Science Foundation on YouTube
Linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI5b5bwpdVE
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: The Water Cycle

A reading that describes the impacts of climate change on the water cycle of Earth. This reading titled, ‘The Water Cycle and Climate Change’ by UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Center for Science Education details the effects of climate change on the natural water cycle on Earth.

Students will learn how various processes of the water cycle, such as evaporation, precipitation, and cloud formation, are potentially affected by climate change. They will further understand how these changes in turn could exacerbate the impacts of global warming.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Describe the water cycle.
  2. List some of the ways how climate change can affect the weather.
  3. Discuss the water cycle and how it affects Earth’s climate. 

About the tool

Tool NameThe Water Cycle and Climate Change
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineEnvironmental Chemistry, Water Cycle, Biogeochemical Cycles, Hydrologic Cycle, Condensation, Evaporation, Evapotranspiration, Groundwater, Precipitation, Sublimation
Climate Topic Climate and the Hydrosphere; Climate and the Atmosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byUCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Center for Science Education
Hosted atUCAR Center for Science Education Website
LinkLink
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Model/ Simulator: The Greenhouse Effect

An interactive simulation to explore the role of different greenhouse gases in causing the greenhouse effect. This PhET simulation titled, ‘The Greenhouse Effect’ by University of Colorado, Boulder, helps to visualize the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.

Students will learn how certain gases in the atmosphere absorb outgoing terrestrial radiation and re-radiate the energy back to Earth’s surface. Using the simulation, they will also be able to adjust the concentration of different greenhouse gases and to note the corresponding surface temperatures of the planet. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What are greenhouse gases?
  2. What is the ‘greenhouse effect’ of the Earth’s atmosphere?
  3. Discuss how varying concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause global warming. 

About the tool

Tool NameThe Greenhouse Effect
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineGreenhouse Effect, Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Warming
Climate Topic Greenhouse Effect; Introduction to Climate Change
Type of tool Simulation
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish, French, German, and Spanish
Translation
Developed byPhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado
Hosted atPhET Interactive Simulations Website
Linkhttps://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/greenhouse
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Teaching Module: The Greenhouse Effect

A teaching module for teachers that explains what greenhouse gases are and describes their role in causing global warming. This resource developed by the Office for Climate Education (OCE) introduces students to the concept of the greenhouse effect and the importance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  The module is based on the IPCC Special Report -Global Warming of 1.5°C and has been developed especially for teachers.

Students will be introduced to the topic of greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere. They will further learn about the relationship between this effect and global warming. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is the ‘greenhouse effect’?
  2. Discuss how the industrial revolution has resulted in an increase in the concentration of some GHGs in the atmosphere and how this contributes to global warming.

About the tool

Tool Name‘A. Understanding global warming’, pages 7-9 of the document,
‘IPCC Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5 0 C”- Summary for Teachers’
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineGreenhouse Effect, Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), Greenhouse Gas Emissions,
Global Warming, Global Warming Potential (GWP)
Climate Topic Greenhouse Effect; Introduction to Climate Change
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelMiddle School, High School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byOffice for Climate Education (OCE)
Hosted atOffice for Climate Education (OCE) Website
LinkLink
AccessOnline/Offline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: Beer-Lambert Law

A reading that uses the Beer-Lambert Law to highlight the link between greenhouse gases and global warming. This reading by Tom Kuntzleman, Chemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X), uses the Beer-Lambert Law to explain the increasing global warming potential of Earth’s atmosphere due to the higher concentrations of greenhouse gases in recent times.

Students will learn about the composition of the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect. They will also be introduced to the Beer-Lambert Law which is used to study the transmittance of sunlight through the atmosphere. They will further learn how this law can be used to evaluate the absorbance values of individual gases in the atmosphere, particularly greenhouse gases.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is the Beer-Lambert Law? How is it expressed in an equation?
  2. Discuss the composition of the atmosphere. 
  3. How do increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases affect the absorbance of sunlight?

About the tool

Tool NameChemical Connections to Climate Change
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineBeer-Lambert Law, Molar Absorptivity, Solar Absorption, Greenhouse Gases
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere; Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byTom Kuntzleman, Spring Arbor University
Hosted atChemical Education Xchange (ChemEd X) Website
Linkhttps://www.chemedx.org/blog/chemical-connections-climate-change
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: Black Carbon – An Introduction

An infographic that contains information on black carbon in the atmosphere and its contribution to global warming. This infographic titled, ‘Black Carbon’, by Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), explains what black carbon is, its sources, emission rates, impacts on health and climate, and solutions to reduce its emission.

Students will get a brief overview of how black carbon is formed, how long it remains in the atmosphere and its impacts on climate and health. They will also learn about some of the solutions that have been suggested to curb this pollutant. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Describe some of the impacts of black carbon on climate and health.
  2. Discuss the feasibility of the solutions proposed in the infographic in the context of a developing country. 

About the tool

Tool NameBlack carbon
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Chemistry, Allotropy, Allotropes of carbon, Black Carbon, Greenhouse Gas
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere, Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Reading (Infographic)
Grade LevelHigh School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byClimate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)
Hosted atClimate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Website
Linkhttps://www.ccacoalition.org/en/slcps/black-carbon
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Black Carbon and Human Health

A classroom activity that discusses the impacts of black carbon emissions on human health. This activity by the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College (SERC Carleton) demonstrates how the burning of fossil fuels and biomass-based fuels results in black carbon emissions, contributes to global warming, and impacts human health in different parts of the world.

Students will be introduced to ‘black carbon’ and understand how it is generated from various household sources in developing countries. They will also be challenged to critically evaluate various health and environmental impacts of household fuels, and to come up with suitable solutions in response to this. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Discuss the effect of black carbon on human health?

About the tool

Tool NameEnergy and the Poor- Black Carbon in the Developing Nations
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Chemistry, Allotropy, Allotropes of carbon, Black Carbon, Greenhouse Gas, Human Health
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere; Greenhouse Effect; Climate and Health
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade LevelUndergraduate
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byScience Education Research Center at Carleton College
Hosted atScience Education Research Center at Carleton College Website
Linkhttps://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/energy/activities/32421.html
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Reading: Black Carbon in the Atmosphere

A reading that describes the effects of black carbon on the atmosphere and the climate system. This reading by Carl Zimmer for the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies details the albedo effect of black carbon, how it affects cloud formation, and its warming and cooling effects of the Earth’s surface.

Students will learn that black carbon is potentially second only to carbon dioxide in its heat trapping power. They will also learn about how it affects the Earth’s climate system. Students will further understand the complexities of black carbon emissions and why only certain emissions cause an increase in Earth’s temperature.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is black carbon? 
  2. What are some of the effects of black carbon on clouds? 
  3. Discuss how the deposition of black carbon on ice caps affects the melting of ice?
  4. Explain how black carbon can have a cooling or warming effect on the planet?

About the tool

Tool NameBlack Carbon and Warming: It’s Worse than We Thought
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Chemistry, Allotropy, Allotropes of carbon, Black Carbon, Greenhouse Gas
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere; Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byCarl Zimmer, The New York Times
Hosted atYale Environment 360 (E360), Yale School of  Environment, Website
Linkhttps://e360.yale.edu/features/carl_zimmer_black_carbon_and_global_warming_worse_than_thought
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic

Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Black Carbon and Earth’s Albedo

A laboratory activity to demonstrate the effect of black carbon on surface temperature of the Earth. This activity by Holzer et al. for the NESTA/Windows to the Universe team demonstrates the impact of black carbon on solar radiation absorption, particularly in the poles. 

Students will be introduced to the albedo effect of black carbon. From the experiment, they will also learn how to collect and translate their findings using a simple model. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is the albedo effect of black carbon and how does it affect the surface temperature of Earth?
  2. Discuss how cutting down of black carbon emissions can reduce global surface temperatures.

About the tool

Tool NameChanging Planet: Black Carbon- A Dusty Situation
DisciplineChemistry
Topic(s) in DisciplineCarbon Chemistry, Allotropy, Allotropes of carbon, Black Carbon, Greenhouse Gas
Climate Topic Climate and the Atmosphere, Greenhouse Effect
Type of tool Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade LevelHigh School
LocationGlobal
LanguageEnglish 
Translation
Developed byMissy Holzer, Jennifer Bergman, and Roberta Johnson
Hosted atNESTA/Windows to the Universe team Website
LinkLink
AccessOnline
Computer SkillsBasic