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Database Provider


TERC, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Experiments
  • Lesson Plans
  • Interactive Media
  • Videos, 3 minutes, 8 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 6 minutes, 53 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Assessments
  • Videos, 13 minutes, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 6 minutes, 20 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 1 minute, 4 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Videos, 3 minutes, 38 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


Carbon in the Atmosphere Lab

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  • In this 3-part lab, students will explore the greenhouse effect, infrared radiation, and the CO2 in ice cores in order to relate the global temperature trends and historic atmospheric CO2 levels.
  • Students will be able to explain how carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation and warm the atmosphere, use a basic climate model, and compare the conditions on Earth to other planets in our solar system.

Teaching Tips


  • The interactive climate model and self-assessment questions will help students comprehend the material.
  • Key questions and learning objectives are outlined in the teacher pages.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The CarbonTracker tool Lab 3B is best used on a computer as opposed to a tablet. This tool can be used in many different ways, so its a good idea to take time to familiarize yourself with everything this tool can do.
  • Teachers should review the summary and all of the sections prior to the lesson.
  • Some materials can be printed for students who do not have access to devices.


  • In many of the Optional Extensions sections throughout the carbon cycle module, students are prompted to "research the latest research" on important carbon cycle topics, which they can do through NASA and NOAA websites.
  • Discussion, Checking In, and Stop and Think questions can be adapted and used in a variety of ways based on teachers' needs. For example, some questions might make great "Do Now" activities as students enter the classroom or great "exit quizzes" as students leave.
  • There are many connections that can be made to lessons about the seasons, weather vs. climate, energy, heat, the carbon cycle, and climate models.
  • Younger students may need more guidance on the activities, scaffolded questions, or answer prompts.
  • Consider having students watch the videos at home and have them work on the questions and climate model in the classroom.
Scientist Notes
The resource will deepen students' understanding on trends of ice core CO2, greenhouse effects and interactions with infrared. Analytics from NOAA are comprehensive and accurate. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
      • HS.ESS2.6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
      • HS.ESS3.6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity (i.e., climate change).
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