The Heat is On!
Time Required: Two class periods
To understand the change in forest ecosystems as a result of predicted changes with global warming.
The earth’s climate is controlled and balanced by a number of factors, including: the sun, the atmosphere, the oceans, fresh water and land. It is naturally variable, with warming and cooling trends part of normal cycles. Climatic conditions vary within a single year, from one year to the next, over decades, centuries and millennia.
Historically, there have been repeated fluctuations between colder and warmer conditions (e.g. the ice age). The greenhouse effect is also a natural phenomenon and helps keep the earth habitable – without it, the temperature of this planet would probably hover about 33 °C colder than it is now. The greenhouse effect refers to the heat-trapping quality of the atmosphere and is created by greenhouse gases. These gases, which include water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20), are part of a complex natural system that influences our climate. Within this system, other elements, such as trees and oceans, play an important role by absorbing and storing atmospheric CO2.
Human activities, particularly those that consume energy derived from the combustion of fossil fuels, produce large quantities of greenhouse gases. Once in the atmosphere, these gases insulate the earth, reducing the loss of heat into space. The increasing emissions of greenhouse gases are threatening to raise temperatures and change the planet’s climate. This “enhanced” greenhouse effect, commonly referred to as “climate change” or “global warming”, has the potential to warm the planet at a rate never before experienced in human history.
Instructions for Students
Consider the following:
- what is the difference between weather and climate?
- what is global warming?
- what is the greenhouse effect? What are green house gases?
- what are some potential national, regional and local issues?
Discuss as a class the various impacts of climate change. Research climate change as it applies to difference forested communities across the country. In groups, research a geographic region and the expected changes.
Consider the ecological, environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change on your chosen geographic region.
Your teacher will explain a Future Wheel, and how it effects a decision or situation.
Create your own Futures Wheel for your geographic region, using the following scenario:
- based on an increase in temperature of 2.5C, predict what the impact will be on the forest environment.
Present your Futures Wheel to your class.
The quality of students’ work will be assessed on the following basis:
1. Knowledge and understanding (35 marks). Content of Futures Wheel, including depth of research.
2. Application (25 marks). Futures Wheel (15), layout and design (10).
3. Communication (20 marks) All components of the Futures Wheel, including spelling,
grammar, punctuation, etc.
4. Thinking and inquiry (20 marks). Development and explanation of the
Futures Wheel (attached)
Source:Focus on Forests
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Science, Geography, Environmental Studies, Earth Science, Environmental Science,
Topic:Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Natural Resources,
Level:Intermediate / MiddleSecondary
Web Pages Used
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