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Global Warming: Think Globally, Teach Locally: 

Global Warming: Think Globally, Teach Locally Sharon McDonald, Diana Moore, Kate Paterson, Steve Schneider, Andria Schwortz, Steve Mangine


Abstract The topic of global warming is a large one, including aspects of chemistry (the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles), biology (effects of GW agents on living organisms), astronomy and meteorology (the green house effect), and technology (pollution), and many misconceptions surround the related topics (ozone). Most importantly, global warming can be used to teach both children and adults the place of humans in the natural world, and how our actions affect the environment. In this hands-on session, you will participate as learners in inquiry based projects relevant to global warming, obtain ideas on how global warming can be threaded through curriculum standards, and experience the successes and problems that were encountered in the classroom with students from widely different backgrounds. Project participants are Sharon McDonald (Palmer Pathfinder VoTech HS), Diana Moore (UMass Amherst), Kate Paterson (Hatfield Smith Academy HS), Steve Schneider (UMass Amherst), Andria Schwortz (UMass Amherst), and Steve Mangine (Springfield Brookings MS). This project has been sponsored by the NSF GK-12 program with the support of STEM Connections at UMass Amherst.

NSF GK-12: 

NSF GK-12 Cross cutting program Graduate students gain teaching/outreach experience K-12 primary and secondary schools gain science expertise Students learn to love science

UMass STEM Connections: 

UMass STEM Connections Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Needy Springfield MA area middle schools Bring students into science Learn school culture Inquiry-based pedagogy

Effects of Global Warming: 

Effects of Global Warming Trapped heat (Venus is runaway greenhouse effect, Mars is counter-example) Climate change Water cycle speeds up Glacial melt Ocean water expansion

Major Greenhouse Gases: 

Major Greenhouse Gases Carbon dioxide (CO2 --53%) Methane (CH4 --17%) Nitrous Oxide (N2O --5%) Ground-level Ozone (O3 --13%) Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs --12%) Water Vapor (H2O)


Misconceptions Many people have misconceptions about global warming that must be dispelled before truly understanding the subject. Large-scale climate change is NOT the same as local weather. Ozone issues (ground level pollution, ozone layer depletion) are NOT the same as global warming and greenhouse gases.

Comparison: Greenhouse vs. Ozone: 

Comparison: Greenhouse vs. Ozone Greenhouse gases are byproducts of pollution-causing processes (car exhaust) Ground-level ozone is a health hazard (burns lungs, causes asthma) Stratospheric ozone (ozone layer) is good: blocks cancer-causing UV rays

Global Warming: 

Global Warming IR CO2 Troposphere Ground Level Stratosphere


Ozone UV O3 NO2 Stratosphere O3 Ground Level Troposphere CFCs


Frameworks Carbon cycle, plants Earth science Water cycle, weather Energy in the atmosphere Sun’s role in the biosphere Heat transfer Earth in the Solar System Technology, pollution Layers of Earth Topographic maps

Inquiry / Engineering Cycle: 

Inquiry / Engineering Cycle


Results “I want to be a scientist.” --Joel, 8th grade Students will investigate their own questions as well as participate in a cross-school debate


Acknowledgements NSF grant #0139272 PIs: K.S. Davis, M.M. Sternheim, J.F. Tyson More information:

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