Unit 4: Considering the Influence of Light and Thermal Phenomena on Global Climate

Exploring Physical Phenomena: What happens when light from the Sun shines on the Earth?

Unit 4 Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Identifying Student Resources

A. Documenting initial knowledge about aspects of global climate

Question 4.1 What do you already know about the influence of light and thermal phenomena on global climate?

1. Diagnostic questions about aspects of light and thermal phenomena on global climate

B. Connecting to everyday experiences

Question 4.2 What happens when a closed car is parked in the Sun on a sunny day?

III. Developing Central Ideas Based on Evidence

A. Developing additional powerful ideas about light phenomena

Question 4.3 Are rays of light visible or invisible?

Question 4.4 What is “invisible light”?

1. Example of student work about visible light and infrared radiation

2. Discovery of infrared radiation

3. Discoveries of the other invisible portions of the electromagnetic spectrum

B. Reviewing central ideas about thermal phenomena developed in earlier units

Question 4.5 How does energy flow from one place to another?

Question 4.6 What is the role of systems thinking in understanding the Earth’s energy budget?

1. Example of student work about energy transfer processes and the Earth’s energy budget 

IV. Using Central Ideas about Light and Thermal Phenomena to Explain the Greenhouse Effect

A. Considering what happens during the greenhouse effect in a garden

Question 4.7 What is the greenhouse effect that occurs within a greenhouse in a garden?

1. Example of student work about exploring the greenhouse effect in garden greenhouses 

B. Considering what happens during the greenhouse effect on a global scale

Question 4.8 What is the greenhouse effect in the context of the entire Earth?

2. Examples of students’ initial diagrams about the greenhouse effect on Earth 

3. Greenhouse effect diagram provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 

4. Example of student’s written work about the greenhouse effect on the entire Earth  

5. Nuances about the greenhouse effect and the Earth’s energy budget 

a) Mechanisms that underline the statement that energy is “trapped” by greenhouse gases. 

b) Details about what happens to energy entering and leaving the Earth’s system. 

6. Examples of student work in engaging a friend or family member in learning about the greenhouse effect 

V. Considering the Evidence for Global Climate Change

A. Viewing evidence for global climate change

Question 4.9 How is the evidence for global climate change being communicated?

1. An example of an effort to create a visually compelling display 

2. Examples of Internet resources available to the public 

3. Examples of the international community of scientists presenting findings to policy makers 

VI. Using Central Ideas Based on Evidence to Consider the Impact of Global Climate Change

A. Exploring the impact of global climate change on sea levels

Question 4.10 What evidence indicates that sea levels are rising?

Question 4.11 What happens when light from the Sun shines on snow and ice on glaciers on land or on icebergs in the ocean?

Question 4.12 What happens when light from the Sun shines on the oceans?

1. Example of student work about modeling and comparing the impact of light from the Sun shining on snow and ice on land and in the sea 

2. Example of student work about modeling the impact of light from the Sun shining on the oceans 

B. Exploring ways to reduce one’s own impact on global climate change

Question 4.13 What can you do to reduce your impact on global climate change?

3. Example of student work in engaging a friend or family member in learning about living in more sustainable ways 

VII. Developing Mathematical Representations of Changing Quantities

A. Developing familiarity with motion graphs for a tossed ball

Question 4.14 How do position, velocity, and acceleration of a tossed ball change with time?

B. Becoming aware of melting glaciers

Question 4.15 What is the evidence that glaciers are melting?

C. Making an analogy between falling balls and melting glaciers

Question 4.16 How can familiarity with motion graphs guide making projections for melting glaciers over the next decade(s)?

1. Example of student work making an analogy between moving and melting phenomena 

2. Summary of the analogy between moving and melting phenomena 

3. Example of student work reflecting upon engaging a friend or family member in learning about global climate change’s impact on melting glaciers. 

VIII. Exploring Internet Resources about Taking Action to Address Climate Change Issues

Question 4.17 What are some ways to take action?

1. Example of student work in reflection upon exploring Internet resources in class and with a friend or family member

IX. Making Connections to Educational Policies

Question 4.18 What relevant NGSS disciplinary core ideas have you used in considering the influence of light and thermal phenomena on global climate change?

A. Learning more about disciplinary core ideas articulated in the US Next Generation Science Standards

B. Reflecting upon this explanation of the science underlying claims of global climate change

C. Making connections to the NGSS understandings about the nature of science

X. Exploring Physical Phenomena: Summary of Equipment and Supplies for Unit 4

 

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License

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Exploring Physical Phenomena by Emily Van Zee & Elizabeth Gire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.