As a high school Chemistry teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching the chemistry of carbon and its compounds, the interaction of greenhouse gas molecules with electromagnetic radiation, and environmental chemistry.
This lesson plan allows students to visualize the molecular structure of atmospheric gases and to understand the effect of electromagnetic radiation on these molecules. The activity will also introduce the topic of greenhouse gases and their role in climate change. Thus, the use of this Lesson Plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Chemistry.
- How do molecules of gases interact with electromagnetic radiation?
- How do atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules interact with infrared photons?
- What is the greenhouse effect of Earth’s atmosphere?
- Could an increase in methane emissions affect the Earth’s temperature? Why?
Molecular Structure of Methane
About Lesson Plan
|Grade Level||High School|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||• Interaction of Molecules with Electromagnetic Radiation
• Molecular Vibrations
• Molecular Structure of Carbon Compounds (CO2, CH4)
• Greenhouse Gases
|Climate Topic||• Climate and the Atmosphere
• The Greenhouse Effect
|Languages||English (Classroom/Laboratory activity available in multiple languages)|
|Approximate Time Required||100-120 min|
|Reading||A reading that provides an overview of the interaction between infrared radiation and molecules of different atmospheric gases.
|A micro-lecture (video) that explains the interaction of molecules such as CO2 and CH4 with electromagnetic radiation, and the resulting molecular vibrations leading to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere.
|Visualization and associated activity (45-60 min)||A visualization and associated activity to observe, understand, explore and analyze the molecular structure of carbon compounds (CO2, CH4), the effect of electromagnetic radiation on the molecules, and the role of greenhouse gases in climate change.
Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.
|1. Introduce the topic through online reading||
|2. Play a micro-lecture (video)||
|3. Conduct an activity using an interactive visualization||
- • How do molecules of gases interact with electromagnetic radiation?
- • How do atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules interact with infrared photons?
- • What is the greenhouse effect of Earth’s atmosphere?
- • Could an increase in methane emissions affect the Earth’s temperature? Why?
- • visualize the molecular structure of atmospheric gases
- • describe the effect of electromagnetic radiation on these molecules
- • identify greenhouse gases and examine their role in climate change
|Video||A video in which Iain Stewart demonstrates infrared radiation absorption by CO2 in a scene from BBC's “Earth: The Climate Wars” documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGaV3PiobYk|
|Visualization||An interactive visualization tool, “Greenhouse Gases”, from Concord Consortium’s Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry: https://concord.org/stem-resources/greenhouse-gases|
|Reading||Reading material from UCAR: https://www.ucar.edu/learn/1_3_1.htm|
|Reading, “Carbon Dioxide Absorbs and Re-emits Infrared Radiation”||UCAR Center for Science Education|
|Micro-lecture (video)||David Archer, the University of Chicago|
|Additional Resources||Iain Stewart; Concord Consortium; UCAR Center for Science Education|