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Global Atmospheric Change

Global Atmospheric Change

The Global Atmospheric Change unit enables students to explore Earth's atmosphere, fossil fuels, energy and the carbon cycle, the greenhouse effect, and how climate affects how we live in different parts of the world. The unit’s integrated components help students understand important science, health and environmental concepts related to changes in Earth’s environment.

The Science of Global Atmospheric Change Teacher’s Guide provides inquiry-based lessons that entice students to discover concepts in science, mathematics and health through hands-on activities.

In the student storybook, Mr. Slaptail’s Curious Contraption, Riff and Rosie can't wait to see what contraption Mr. Slaptail is building now - on his rooftop! While they investigate, an explosion occurs at the local coal mine. After mine owner Beulah Diggerpaw is rescued, she announces the mine will close. The coal mine fuels most of the energy needs in Bright Water Corners. What will they use for energy?

Explorations is a colorful magazine full of articles and fun things for children and adults to try in class or at home, including hands-on activities such as making a sundial and creating a model of how Earth's environment is affected by natural and man-made disasters.

The Math Link extends each unit by connecting the story and hands-on science activities to mathematics skill-building and critical thinking exercises, and The Reading Link provides language arts activities related to the story.

Complete Teacher's Guide

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The Science of Global Atmospheric Change

Students investigate different sources of energy and how they can affect the atmosphere and global ecology.

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Classroom Slides

Slide set containing information and images from The Science of Global Atmospheric Change Teacher's Guide, for use in classrooms as needed.

Individual Lessons

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Earth's Energy Sources (pre-assessment)

Students take a pre-assessment to gauge their knowledge of climate change, the atmosphere and carbon cycle, skin cancer and human health.

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Rainbow in the Room

Students learn about colors, prisms and light, and draw their own rainbows in the proper color sequence.

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Modeling Earth's Atmosphere

Students create a 3-m scale model of the atmosphere to learn about its composition and structure.

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Fossil Fuels and the Carbon Cycle

Students learn how geologists locate fossil fuels by using a straw to extract "core samples" from a model that has different layers.

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Finding the Carbon in Sugar

Students learn about combustion and energy by observing (1) a candle burn within a sealed jar and (2) the burning of white sugar.

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Fuel for Living Things

Students observe and discuss what happens when yeast cells are provided with a source of food (sugar).

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Measuring and Protecting Skin

Students compare and contrast their own skin (including its surface area) with that of an orange.

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Using Heat from the Sun

Students conduct a discovery activity that allows them to observe how energy from sunlight can heat water.

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Greenhouse S'Mores

Students learn about the greenhouse effect by observing the reflective or heat-trapping qualities of different materials.

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People and Climate

Students learn about Earth’s major climate types, how climate affects people's lifestyles, and impacts of climate change.

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Everyone Counts (post-assessment)

Students review ideas covered in the Global Atmospheric Change unit, write persuasive letters, and revise their pre-assessments, as needed.

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Unit Components

Free, downloadable components from the Global Change unit for teaching your students about how climate change affects everyone.

Thumbnail Image for Mr. Slaptail's Curious Contraption Reading

Mr. Slaptail's Curious Contraption

Riff and Rosie, Mr. Slaptail and their neighbor, Beulah Diggerpaw, have an adventure while learning about energy use.

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Explorations Magazine

Students learn about Earth's atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, identify where children live based on their clothing, make a sundial, and model Earth's atmosphere.

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The Math Link

Math worksheets designed to meet common mathematics objectives. Activities are integrated with the storybook, Mr. Slaptail's Curious Contraption.

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The Reading Link

Reading and language arts worksheets with activities that are directly related to the book, Mr. Slaptail's Curious Contraption.

Thumbnail Image for Global Change: Make a Paper Pinwheel Worksheets

Make a Paper Pinwheel

Students create a paper pinwheel using a template provided in the Global Atmospheric Change unit storybook, Mr. Slaptail's Curious Contraption.

Related Video and Slide Presentations

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Ecosystems

Overview of the relationships between environmental systems and life on our planet, including common terms and concepts related to ecosystems.

Video Digital Slide Set
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Energy, Ecosystems and the Atmosphere

Overview of the sources and flow of energy through ecosystems, and how the use and transfer of energy impacts our planetary ecosystems. 

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Science Safety

This presentation provides key safety information for your science classroom. Although it refers to the Houston Independent School District and State of Texas guidelines, the content is widely applicable.

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The Environment and Human Health

Learn how the environment impacts human health and the ecosystems around us, on both a small/local and large/global scale.

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Nature News Stories

BioEd Online is pleased to provide current biology and life sciences news stories from Nature News, the science syndication arm of the premier international science publisher, the Nature Publishing Group.

For articles on a variety of topics, visit BioEd Online's Nature News library.

Deforestation spikes in Brazilian Amazon Can old computers bring Palestinians and Israelis together? Political upheaval threatens Brazil’s environmental protections Quest to map Africa’s soil microbiome begins Climate change could flip Mediterranean lands to desert

Associated Teaching Units

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The Air Unit

The Air unit lets students creatively explore air and the atmosphere, air quality and related issues such as allergens in the places we live, study and work.

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The Food Unit

The Food unit allows students to have fun learning about food sources, healthy eating, food safety, food groups and overall nutrition.

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The Water Unit

The Water unit provides students with a fresh look at water and lets them discover why it is necessary to the well-being of all living creatures.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932