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King's Centre for Visualization in Science


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Ebooks
  • Videos, 58 seconds
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

Climate: A Balancing Act

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  • In this self-paced lesson, students will learn about radiation balance, incoming solar radiation, the reflection of solar radiation, the emission of thermal radiation, and the greenhouse effect. 

Teaching Tips


  • The lesson covers the topic of Earth's radiation balance through text, visualizations, and checkpoints for understanding.
  • Students will explore other planets' characteristics and conditions and compare them to Earth.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of chemistry and physics concepts such as electromagnetic radiation, infrared radiation, and surface temperature.
  • This is part 4 of 9 in Explaining Climate Change, a series of lessons from The King's Centre for Visualization in Science.


  • Teachers should pay attention to the pace at which they assign the 5 key idea sections. Teachers may want to assign one key idea section at a time and check for understanding before proceeding to the next one.
  • The reading level for these slides is upper high school to college level, so teachers may want to employ reading scaffolds, such as graphic organizers, for students.
  • Teachers may want to check for students' understanding of physics concepts first and then support their scientific vocabulary acquisition for new terms such as albedo, radiation balance, particulate matter, etc.

Scientist Notes
There is no misconception within the resource. The resource is recommended for teaching climate science.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.1 Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
      • 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.
    • PS3: Energy
      • HS.PS3.2 Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motion of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative position of particles (objects).
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