Logo Trop1 (1)

Teaching Introductory Calculus (Differentiation) using Atmospheric CO2 Data


As a high school or undergraduate  Mathematics teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching topics such as DifferentiationDerivatives of Polynomials, and Tangent Line Problems in Introductory Calculus.

This lesson plan allows students to perform polynomial differentiation and solve tangent line problems using climate data such as atmospheric CO2 concentrations data since 1950.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Mathematics.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Calculate the derivatives of polynomials
  2. Interpret and compare the slope of a curve at different points
  3. Compare and analyze the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 levels by applying polynomial differentiation
  4. Predict future atmospheric CO2 levels based on current levels, and discuss the corresponding effect on climate

This activity will help students to:

  1. Observe the trend in increasing atmospheric CO2 levels
  2. Infer the approximate year when atmospheric CO2 levels could cause global temperatures to increase by 2°C (leading to serious climate change-related problems)
  3. Determine the desired trends in atmospheric CO2 levels that could help in avoiding or mitigating such climate change-related consequences


To Subscribe to our newsletter please enter