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IMGALTTAG Volume III: Global Warming


Climate change and the impact human-activity has on it

Adam Holy
Schenley High School

Global warming is no longer a concern for everyone living on this planet, but rather a reality that will have an indeterminate impact on humankind. It is a predicament that we cannot afford to ignore or hope that politicians or scientists can solve. It will affect us all and as educators, it is our responsibility to teach students the serious consequences that can result from human activity. Human-induced climate change, Global Warming, is not only a political topic, but a scientific based issue that we need to all share in acknowledging, understanding, and being proactive in resolving. With human fingerprints on greenhouse gases, it is necessary to make a change in society’s perspective on what is happening to our Earth’s climate and how it can, and will affect us as humans. As technology and understanding of energy develop, so should our abilities to keep our natural environment as stable as we found it. The impact we have on Earth’s climate can be controlled from the amount of greenhouse gases we deposit in our atmosphere. By developing new technologies that reduce reliance on fossil fuels, continued conservation methods, and utilization of alternative energy sources.


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Global Warming From a Health Perspective
By Lauren Mallinger
Pittsburgh Vann K-8

Global Warming is such a controversial topic today. Educating children about their environment is one way they can learn to have a personal impact on the world. The health model teaches children to become responsible for themselves, their family and friends, and their environment. The curriculum unit, “Global Warming From a Health Prospective”, is designed for students in fifth and sixth grades. However, students in lower grades will have the ability to gain knowledge from some of the activities that will be modified for their grade levels. The unit can be taught in two to four lessons depending on the time constraints of the health program. One lesson will be devoted to background information on global warming and climate change. The students will also discuss implications of global warming on their own home environments and how they would lower their carbon foot prints. Time for activities with Earth Day, Clean up the Trash Day and a field trip to a recycling facility would cap off the objectives of the unit.


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Global Warming as a result of Land Misuse

Joseph J. McGuire
Oliver High School

This unit is for ninth to twelfth grade Mainstream and Scholars biology students. The unit introduces students to the subject of global warming and climate change as a result of human interaction and deforestation. The students will look at the cyclic systems that exist within the environment and pinpoint the sources of climatic change. Students will also be able to model the systems using easy techniques that illustrate the concepts of interest. Students will write on their experiences throughout the unit and share their writings with other students. Students will be able to draw connections between deforestation and a loss of carbon sequestration. Students are introduced to several possible solutions and ways that they can use to reduce their carbon footprints. This unit is interactive and a hands on approach to teaching this subject.


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Fire and Ice: The Role Of The Water Molecule in Global Warming
Linda Kay Neumann
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School

The purpose of this high school chemistry Curriculum Unit is to enable students to use their scientific knowledge of the "water molecule" to understand the role which water plays in the timely and important topic of global warming. The Unit will provide these students with a basis for making intelligent and informed decisions concerning the global warming evidence presented to them. From the knowledge that water in the vapor state is the most potent of all greenhouse gases, to the effect of "liquid water" on the weather patterns of whole continents, to the potential demographic and economic effect of "frozen water" (the cryosphere) on the daily lives of millions of people affected by the fate of the Antarctic Ice Shelves, Greenland Glaciers or the permafrost, a scientific understanding of water is now a crucial component in decisions that will decide whether long term human existence is ultimately sustainable. The Curriculum Unit will begin with the traditional chemistry concept of Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory and use this as a basis for a structural understanding other related chemistry concepts such as hydrogen bonding, polarity, density and thermodynamics (specific heat, heat of fusion, and heat of vaporization.) As each of the physical and chemical concepts concerning the water molecule is studied, the associated ramifications for global warming will be addressed, as will any evidence necessary for changes in lifestyle, in legislation, and in public awareness and policy.


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Global Warming as an Overarching Idea for Junior and High School Science Instruction
Ronni Esther Rossman
Langley High School

With the voluntary continual input of media information, through ipod, internet, television, and print, students receive a tremendous amount of contradictory information about climate change. Because of this, students often ask “is global warming really happening?” This curriculum is specifically designed to allow students to explore this question in depth throughout their junior and high school years, across disciplines. It can be incorporated into mainstream, inclusion, or honors classes, in general science, biology, chemistry, physics, English, history, and mathematics classes, as the students come to understand the scientific processes involved, the historical changes over time, and the environmental laws and regulations which guide the public knowledge, as well as learning about global responsibility. It aligns with science standards at the local and national level, and is easily adapted to the standards of other disciplines as well.


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Global Warming: Using global warming to increase environmental education in the urban learner.
Danelle Uniatowski
Arsenal Middle

The purpose of this unit is to give the urban learner an active and hands on approach to environmental education specifically global climate change. By creating this unit I hope to expose students to their natural environment, provide them with problem solving, decision making, and critical thinking skills that they can carry on to all facets of their education and their life.

In a time of MP3’s, Nintendo Wii’s, PSP’s, and many other electronic devices children have not been exposed to the great outdoors. Playing on computers instead of playing outside has distanced children from their natural surroundings and thus lessened their sensitivity to the pressing environmental issues. They feel no responsibility to the problems that are occurring. It is with our youth that we will be able to make necessary changes in the way people feel about the environment. Giving students an opportunity to take charge and develop a sense of ownership to the environment and to the world


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Global Warming and Biodiversity
Vincent Vernacchio
Brashear High School

Global warming has become a complex issue in our society as well as a seemingly misunderstood, misrepresented series of interconnected scientific concepts. This is an important local and global environmental issue for many people and yet an apparent fiction to others. The overall awareness of this issue is very broad in scope, existing at a world-wide level. Politicians have used this issue to polarize sympathetic groups. Scientists have worked diligently over the past few decades to discover and validate facts about how humans are having an impact upon global climate change and the notion that the earth recently is progressively warmer. Organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been formed so that the fundamental science at the heart of the global warming debate has a vehicle to proceed in spite of political or societal disruptions that may distract the necessary research.

The goal of this unit is to assist teachers as they guide students in unpacking some of the important aspects of global warming and to provide students with a framework in which to formulate their thoughts and beliefs about global warming. The lessons are teacher friendly and can readily be implemented by novice and experienced teachers alike. The unit is designed for about 250 minutes or roughly 6 class periods. The amount of instructional time required for the lessons is flexible according to the needs of the students, out of class homework assignments, and the constraints of your district’s curriculum pacing. The topic is relevant to nearly any content area. This content of this unit is focused primarily on environmental studies, earth science, and biology. The lessons are intentionally biased toward a biological perspective but the techniques utilized and the overall lesson flow can easily be adapted to other content areas. The unit was written to satisfy Pennsylvania state assessment anchors that deal with the impact of human behavior on the environment.


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Separating Fact from Fiction in the Debate about Climate Change
John R. Wilson
Schenley High

While this unit is about the subject of global warming it is not designed to persuade students to one side of the argument or the other. It is my belief that we have too much propaganda and not enough information. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say there is an overload of information but few good ways to analyze the information and determine which is valid and which is not. It is the purpose of this unit to provide students with the means and methods of being able to sort through the vast amounts of data being published on this subject and come to an intelligent and rational conclusion on their own. If your purpose is to convince students toward one side of the argument or the other, that would be relatively easy. What I am proposing here would be much more difficult but in the end far more useful as the skills and techniques developed here can be applied to almost any subject and/or area of life.


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Writing a Short Story about Global Warming in High School Chemistry
Raymond Zanetti
Schenley High

This unit of study is intended for students taking an introductory level course of chemistry at the high school level. The expectation is that students will use two different types of abilities, one the knowledge base of science, and the other proficiency in writing, to prepare and then write a short story about global warming. They will learn how to approach, and then write the story after researching theoretical evidence collected by scientists in the field of climatology. It contains a collection of four chemistry related lessons that after presented to students will help them with the creation of a short story concerning the issue of global warming. The use of scientific data concerning global warming in this story-writing curriculum is a unique approach to foster student-writing skills while studying introductory chemistry. It is intended to allow the budding scientist/writer to write a story and focus their attention on details that are analyzed in both the laboratory and current scientific research with special relevance to the study of global warming.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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