Pre-Visit ActivitiesThese discussion starters and activities are designed to spark your students' interest in the exhibition and to prepare them for the concepts they'll encounter.
Weather & Climate
Objective: To understand how surface color affects the absorption of energy.
1. Ask students: On a hot summer day, would you want to wear a dark color shirt or a light one? Would it be more comfortable to walk barefoot on dark pavement or a light sidewalk?
2. Divide students into teams. Give each team one piece of white paper, one piece of dark paper, two thermometers, and a Temperature vs. Time chart.
3. Have teams put the two sheets of paper near a sunny window or under a desk lamp, and place a thermometer under each. Ask teams to take temperature readings every minute and record their findings on the chart.
4. Have teams present and compare their results.
5. Ask students: As more and more melting sea ice is replaced by dark ocean water, how might Earth's surface temperature change?
Compare Local Weather & Climate
Objective: To understand the difference between weather and climate.
1. Over five days, distribute copies of the weather section from the newspaper or have students visit a weather website.
2. Each day, ask students to record and graph the following data for your area:
Weather & Climate
Objective: To understand the role of plants in the carbon cycle.
Description: In this experiment, students use their breath, a carbon dioxide indicator, and a common water plant to show how plants remove CO2 from Earth's atmosphere. Students then explore and discuss the impact of deforestation on climate change.
Science Bulletins: Melting Ice, Rising Seas
Objective: To understand how scientists use the scientific method to investigate Earth's warming climate.
Description: Students learn about the scientific method through class discussions and an online video. The video features scientists studying geologic records in Greenland's glaciers and Florida's fossilized coral reefs in order to predict the impact of melting ice on sea level rise.
Video and Essay
Click on the "Climate Change" tab at the top right. You'll find "Melting Ice, Rising Seas" among other stories in the right column. After you select the video and press "play," look for the "Educator Resources" link in the lower left column. It includes suggested questions to guide your class discussion and an in-depth look at the scientific method.
How Greenhouse Gases Absorb Heat
Objective: To understand that CO2 absorbs heat in the atmosphere.
Description: In this experiment, student teams will compare the way two "atmospheres," one higher in CO2, trap heat. Materials include jars, thermometers, baking soda, vinegar, tubing, and stoppers.
Science Bulletins: Climate Change Stories
Objective: To explore current research related to climate change.
Description: Students can choose from an array of videos, interactives, and essays that explore cutting-edge scientific research on climate change. Stories include "Bio Snapshot: Climate Change Affects Ecosystems," "Earth Feature: Melting Glaciers, Clues to Climate Change," "Human Snapshot: Did Climate Change Guide Early Migrations?," and "Earth Viz: Sea Ice 2000-2008."
Videos, Interactives, and Essays available at: sciencebulletins.amnh.org
Click on the "Climate Change" tab at the top right. Select a video or interactive and press "play." In the lower left column, you'll find supporting resources such as essays, interactives, data, and/or educator resources.