Earth Science Learning Community

Lesson 4 - Clouds and the Greenhouse Effect

Lesson Plan

clouds

State Standards:

High School SIS1. Make observations, raise questions, and formulate hypotheses.

Essential Question:

How does the Earth maintain a constant temperature suitable for life?

Lesson Question:

What role do clouds play in the greenhouse effect?

Introduction:

You have learned that the greenhouse gases in atmosphere slow the escape of re-radiated heat from the Earth into space and thus allow our planet to maintain a constant temperature suitable for life. In this lesson you will study what role clouds play in the greenhouse effect. By examining how clouds contribute to global warming using a PhET simulating and gathering information from various web sites you will understand the relationship between clouds and the greenhouse effect. Ultimately you will read an article on the web concerning clouds and the greenhouse effect and defend your position on controversial arguments presented in the article by writing a one page essay.

Task:

You will use the interactive PhET simulation “The Greenhouse Effect” to observe and gather data on clouds effect on average global temperature. You will then visit a number of web sites which deal with clouds‘ role in the greenhouse effect to confirm your findings found from using the simulation. Finally you will critically read an article on the web and defend your position on controversial arguments presented in the article concerning the role clouds play in global warming. A persuasive essay will be your final product written in a Word or similar document using Claims, Evidence and Reasoning (CER) format.

earth from space

Lesson Experiences:

The following lesson is intended to take place in a 90 minute bock period or two 45 minute periods of class. It may be self directed or teacher facilitated. The homework assignments may partially be classroom assignments or completed entirely outside the classroom.

Look through this PowerPoint containing predicted temperature verses actual temperature of the inner planets.

Look at this chart which displays the predicted average temperature for each planet and their actual temperature.

planetary consumption chart

Answer the following question in your notebook:
How do greenhouse gases account for their average surface temperatures?

Complete the following activity to gain a deeper understanding of the role clouds play in the greenhouse effect.

Activity : Clouds and the Greenhouse Effect

Answer the following questions in your notebook.

Begin the investigation by clicking on the link below. Make sure you record your data in your notebook.

In this investigate you will work together or individually to gather data using PhET simulation

“ The Green House Effect”

 

Now share your finding with the entire class. Make sure you discuss the following:

Check for understanding:

Why do you think Venus has such a high surface temperature?

Click here for more information

Why do you think Mars has a surface temperature close to its predicted value?

Click here for information

And click here for additional information

timelapse clouds

Homework:

Visit one or two websites from the list below to confirm your findings from the simulation activity and answer the following question in your notebook.

What are some different effects particular cloud types have on temperature?

Examine these Internet sites on clouds and the greenhouse effect:

Then read this article “Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenter” by Justin Gillis and be prepared to discuss your view of the article in class.

Final Assessment:

Write a one page persuasive essay on whether or not clouds will play a major role in the greenhouse effect.

Do you agree or disagree with statements made in this article? “Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenter” by Justin Gillis

Use information obtained from reading the article, the PhET simulation and the internet sites you explored to aid you.

Use Claims, Evidence and Reasoning (CER) format when writing your essay.

State clearly your position on the role clouds will play in the greenhouse effect.

greenhouse diagram

Conclusion:

By using the PhET simulation " The Green House Effect " you have gained a better understanding of the role clouds play in the warming or cooling of our planet. The Internet sites you visited allowed you to acquire deeper insights the complexities various types of clouds add to a more complete understanding of the greenhouse effect. Finally you wrote a persuasive essay on a controversial article you read defending your position. The essay allowed you to use and develop your high order level thinking skills using evidence gathered demonstrating good scientific reasoning.

Now that you have completed these activities and your essay, how would you answer this question:

What role do clouds play in the greenhouse effect?

 

Assessments:

You will be able to ... 4 Strong 3 Good 2 Adequate 1 Inadequate
Communicate Information The writer consistently communicates original thoughts or learned information from simulation, internet sites and article. The writer frequently communicates original thoughts or learned information from simulation, internet sites and article. The writer occasionally communicates original thoughts or learned information from simulation, internet sites and article.
.
The writer rarely communicates original thoughts or learned information from simulation, internet sites and article.
Claim Claim is accurate and complete. Claim is accurate but incomplete Claim has minor inaccuracies or is incomplete Claim is not made or is inaccurate
Evidence Evidence is sufficient and appropriate
evidence for rebuttals is present
Evidence is appropriate and mostly sufficient
no evidence for rebuttals
Evidence is not sufficient and/or does not link evidence to claim
no evidence for rebuttals
Evidence is missing or
is not sufficient or
no link between evidence and claim
no evidence for rebuttals
Reasoning Reasoning links evidence to claim
Includes appropriate and sufficient scientific principles
Reasoning reasonably links evidence to claim
Includes some scientific principles but not sufficient
Reasoning present but poorly links evidence to claim
Scientific principles are not included
Reasoning is not present or does not link evidence to claim
Use tools of language The writer shows a superior command of the tools of language relative to focus, organization, elaboration, support, style, grammar, usage and mechanics The writer shows an adequate command of the tools of language relative to factors such as focus, organization, elaboration, support, style, grammar, usage, and mechanics. The writer shows a less than adequate command of the tools of language relative to factors such as focus, organization, elaboration, support, style, grammar, usage, and mechanics. The writer shows a pattern of weakness in command of the tools of language relative to factors such as focus, organization, elaboration, support, style, grammar, usage, and mechanics.

Resources:

Web 2.0 online component:


Online article: “Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenter” by Justin Gillis

Internet sites on clouds and the greenhouse effect:

Classroom materials:

Teacher Notes:

Time

Lesson 1

7E model

10 min

Show photos of Earth, Venus and Mars

Present PowerPoint on Terrestrial planets containing predicted temperature verses actual temperature.

  • Do you know what the average albedo is for each planet?
  • What do you think is the average global temperature for each planet?

Show chart which displays the predicted average temperature for each planet and their actual temperature.

Elicit


Engage

20 min

Activity : Clouds and the Greenhouse effect

  • Do you recall how to use the PhET simulation on the greenhouse effect?
  • How can use the simulation to determine the effect clouds have on the Earth's average temperature.
  • How should you collect the data?

Investigate: students work together in small groups to gather data using PhET simulation

“ The Green House Effect”

Elicit
Evaluate


Explore

10 min

Class comes together to share findings.

  • Show photos of cumulus clouds, cirrus clouds, and jet contrails
  • Explain albedo effect and clouds
  • Relate the type of cloud to its warming or cooling effect
  • Describe clouds role as a greenhouse gas and feedback mechanisms

Explain

10 min

Check for understanding:

Why do you think Venus has such a high surface temperature?

Why do you thing Mars has a surface temperature close to its predicted value?

Evaluate

Homework:

Visit a website from the given list to confirm findings of activity and answer the following question.

What are some different effects particular cloud types have on temperature ?

Also: read article “Clouds' Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenter” by Justin Gillis

and be prepared to discuss your view of the article in class.

Elaborate

Final Assessment:
One page persuasive essay on whether or not clouds will play a major role in the greenhouse effect.

Image Credits:

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg Timelapse clouds.ogg Clouds.jpg Greenhouse effect diagram