CO2: Find Out What It Means to You!

CO2: Find Out What It Means to You!


Erin P. Woulfe
Chemistry Teacher
East Greenwich High School 
East Greenwich R.I.

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This BLOSSOMS lesson discusses Carbon Dioxide, and its impact on climate change. The main learning objective is for students to become more familiar with human production of Carbon Dioxide gas, as well as to gain an awareness of the potential for this gas to effect the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere. This lesson should take about an hour to complete. In order to complete the lesson, the teacher will need: printed copies of signs representing the different products and processes that take place in the carbon cycle (included), samples of matter that represent those products, handouts for the students to create a graphic of the carbon cycle (included) and graph paper or graphing software for students to create graphs. In the breaks of this BLOSSOMS lesson, students will be creating models of the carbon cycle as well as observing experiments and analyzing data from them. It is hoped that this lesson will familiarize students with ways in which carbon moves through our environment and provide them with some personal connection to the impact that an increased concentration of CO2 can have on air temperature. The goal is to spark their interest and hopefully to encourage them to ask and investigate more questions about the climate. This lesson is aligned with the following Next Generation Science Standard:


Instructor Biography

In her 17th year of teaching secondary science, Erin Woulfe has taught Chemistry to hundreds of students from the College Prep level through AP. She enjoys making the abstract approachable through analogies and relationships.

Additional Online Resources Why is Carbon an Important Element?
In this lesson developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), students will explore the carbon cycle and the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature.

Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
This lesson, vetted and approved on the CPALMS website, provides students with the opportunity to read and analyze an informational text designed to support reading in the content area. This article describes the rise of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere and its likely effects on the planet, including climate change and ocean acidification. 

Royal Society of Chemistry: Climate Change: Looking at the data - The Earth is getting warmer
This resource, sponsored by Learn Chemistry, is entitled “Climate Change: Looking at the Data – The Earth Is Getting Warmer.”

Royal Society of Chemistry: Climate Change: Looking at the data- temperature changes
This resource, sponsored by Learn Chemistry, is entitled “Looking at the Data: Temperature Changes.”