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Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have been increasing in recent decades

Credit: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide_png

Global temperatures and sea levels have been rising

Credit: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

So what can we do to prevent global warming? Burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) is the biggest source of greenhouse gases. Fossil fuel use can be reduced by energy efficiency and conservation, and by switching to alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, or nuclear power.

One way to calculate your impact on the environment and contribution to the heating of the earth is the “ Carbon footprint .” A carbon footprint tells you how much carbon dioxide is emitted as a result of your day-to-day lifestyle and actions. It can also tell you what actions could reduce the amount of pollutants are released into the air. Toward the end of this lesson, students will compute their own carbon footprints using an EPA computer program online.

How can we keep our air clean and reduce our carbon footprint?

  • Walk, bike or take the bus
  • Look out for energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs
  • Ask your parents to make sure that the air conditioner is in good condition
  • Shut off the lights when you are not in the room, and turn off your electronic appliances when they are not in use.
  • Save water! Turn off the water when it is not in use, and only do the laundry or run the dishwasher with a full load of clothes or dishes.
  • Set the thermostat so that your heater or air conditioner run less while you are away.

Additional reading materials:

1. Greenhouse Effect



2. Causes and Effects of Global Warming



3. Clean Fuels


Materials (for a class of 25)

  • Hygrometer (1 per class)
  • Infrared Thermometer (1 per class)
  • Ozone Test Strips (1 per class)
  • Ozone Scanner (1 per class)
  • Wind Vane (1 per class)
  • Thermal Glove (1 per class)
  • Cloud Charts (1 per class)
  • GLOBE Measurement Data Sheets (1 per student)
  • Computers
  • Projection Screen
  • Access to Brainpop.com


  • Low-level ozone
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Global warming
  • Atmosphere
  • Carbon footprint
  • Alternative fuels
  • Alternative energy
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Greenhouse gases

Step 4 in lesson plan


Step-by-step suggested lesson plan

Instructor Activity Student Activity
Measurements. Take your students outside and conduct the GLOBE protocols. Students should set up the ozone strip, take the air and surface temperature, observe the sky for clouds, and measure humidity and wind direction. Students take measurements and write down results on data sheets.
(Optional: Above 5th grade learning objectives). Ask students to brainstorm examples of something in balance, such as a budget. Explain that Earth maintains a balance between solar energy absorbed from the Sun and heat energy that Earth sends back to space. Greenhouse gases trap in some of Earth’s heat energy and make the planet warmer. Draw a picture like the one on p. 2 to illustrate this. Make it clear that the greenhouse effect is good for Earth to some extent, but that increasing amounts of greenhouse gases can change the climate. Optional video: “Greenhouse effect” on Brainpop.com Students brainstorm examples, participate in discussion, and watch video.
Ask students how scientists could measure if climate is changing. Discuss some of the evidence that the climate is warming, such as rising CO­2 levels, temperatures, and sea level (see p. 3). Students discuss measurements that could indicate a changing climate.
Online Activity. Next, guide students to an interactive map of global warming impacts at: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-impacts-interactive.html. Guide students to answer related questions in journals. Students visit website to explore some of the impacts of global warming worldwide, and answer related questions in their journal. (p. 2)
Online Activity. Guide students to compute their carbon footprint at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/calc/index.html. This carbon footprint calculator helps students discover how much carbon emissions result from their actions, and how much those emissions can be reduced by simple changes. Ask students what actions they think are most doable for reducing their carbon footprint. Students compute carbon footprint and answer related questions in journal (p. 3)
Take your class outside, and scan the ozone strip. Also, retake the surface and air temperature and humidity so that students can take the average of these measurements to supplement their ozone measurements. Students take measurements and write down their results on their data sheets.

Expected outcomes

  1. Students understand the causes and effects of the greenhouse effect.
  2. Students understand the causes and effects of global warming.
  3. Students compute their carbon footprint and brainstorm ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Rice air curriculum. OpenStax CNX. May 09, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11200/1.1
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