Transformations in Matter and Energy Carbon TIME is an NSF-funded partnership led by Michigan State University
Human Energy Systems | Activity 4.4
Target Student Performance
Students use an online computer model to make quantitative predictions of how changes in photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and combustion fluxes will affect the long-term trend in the atmospheric CO2 pool.
- Global Computer Model
- 4.4 Global Computer Model PPT
- 4.4 Global Computer Model Reading (1 per student)
- 4.4 Global Computer Model Worksheet (1 per student)
- 4.4 Grading Global Computer Model Worksheet
- Learning Tracking Tool for Human Energy Systems (1 per student)
- Assessing the Learning Tracking Tool for Human Energy Systems
- Questions, Connections, Questions Student Reading Strategy
- (Optional) Big Idea Probe: What Would Happen if We Cut Fossil Fuel Use in Half (1 per student)
- (Optional) Assessing the Big Idea Probe: What Would Happen if We Cut Fossil Fuel Use in Half
Prepare one copy of 4.4 Global Computer Model Reading and one copy of 4.4 Global Computer Model Worksheet for each student. Follow the link for the Global Computer Model short film to download it to your computer. Prepare a computer and projector for the film and 4.4 Global Computer Model PPT. You may want to prepare the poster papers around the room as described in step 4 of the directions.
This activity includes opportunities for both formative and summative assessment.
- Check for student understanding of the reading using the Questions, Connections, Questions Reading Strategy Educator Resource
- Use 4.4 Grading Global Computer Model Worksheet to check for student understanding after the activity is over.
- Check for changes in students’ predictions and strategies for predicting based on Assessing the Big Idea Probe: What Would Happen if We Cut Fossil Fuel Use in Half
- Compare your students’ summaries of what they learned and questions to the suggestions on Assessing the Learning Tracking Tool for Human Energy Systems
- You might want to point in step 5 out that although the seasonal cycle is a naturally occurring phenomenon, the current overall trend in increases in CO2 and temperature cannot be explained using evidence of natural cycles. Students may point to specific natural cycles as evidence that climate change is not caused by humans, which might include sunspots, volcanic activity, El Niño, or changes in the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. While it is true that these natural phenomena do cause variations in shorter time periods (1-15 years or so), these variations do not contradict the evidence for the recent increase in CO2 levels and temperature, especially in the last 60 years. These increases have persisted over a longer time period than natural causes like sunspots and volcanoes can explain.
- It won’t hurt to mention a few times that the fossil fuel pool has nothing to do with the seasonal flux!