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.
Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:
- 1. What is an isotope?
- 2. What is the relationship between isotopic compositions and temperature?
- 3. How can you use oxygen isotope data in an ice core to determine temperature?
- 4. How can you use isotopic compositions to reconstruct past climate?
About Lesson Plan
|Grade Level||High School, Undergraduate|
|Discipline||Chemistry, Earth Sciences|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||• Atomic Number, Mass Number
• Isotopes and Isotopic Ratios
• How isotopic ratios are used to calculate temperature
• How isotopic composition is used to recreate past temperatures and climate
|Climate Topic||Climate and the Cryosphere, Climate Variability Record|
|Languages||English (Simulation tool available in multiple languages)|
|Approximate Time Required||130-150 min|
|Micro-lecture (video) (~10 min)||A micro-lecture that introduces the concepts of atomic number, mass number, and isotopes.
|Reading (20-30 min)||A reading about isotopic ratios, the relationship between isotopic compositions and temperature, and how isotopic compositions are used to recreate past temperature and climate.
|Classroom/ Laboratory activity (~ 90 min)||A classroom/laboratory activity to recreate the climate of the last 500,000 years approximately using oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions of ice cores from Antarctica.
University of Washington Program on Climate Change: Laboratory Activity, From Isotopes to Temperature (Spruce Schoenemann, UW Earth and Space Sciences)
|1.Introduce the topic through a micro-lecture (video)||
|2. Discuss using an online reading||
|3. Conduct an activity using an interactive visualization||Now, explore the relationship between isotopic compositions and climate through a hands-on classroom/laboratory activity, “From Isotopes to Temperature”, created by Spruce Schoenemann, UW Earth and Space Sciences:
In this activity, your students will analyze isotopic compositions of ice core data from Antarctica to infer past temperatures and climate. Students will plot graphs in MS Excel to perform data analysis and interpretation.