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Author

King's Centre for Visualization in Science

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Ebooks
  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

Global

Climate Feedback Loops

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Synopsis
  • In this lesson, students will learn about climate feedback loops.
  • The lesson explains the role of carbon dioxide in feedback loops, the impact of warmer global temperatures on permafrost and methane clathrate hydrates, water feedbacks, and how increased temperatures have caused mountain pine beetles to thrive, leading to increased forest fires. 

Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The lesson includes a pop-up glossary to assist students in accessing definitions.
  • Graphs and real-world illustrations are used to help students better understand the concept of a feedback loop.
  • The lesson also includes math connections and provides students with opportunities to practice using graphs.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students would benefit from working through or referencing the previous lessons from this source.
  • Students should be familiar with graphing and navigating simulations.

  • Some of the data is not current. Examples include the following:
    • The Carbon Cycle learning tool uses data from 2007 and 2008.
    • Page 5/8 in Key Idea 4: Water Feedbacks features a graph with data that extends to the year 2010.
  • This is part 7 of 9 in Explaining Climate Change, a series of lessons from The King's Centre for Visualization in Science. 

Differentiation

  • This lesson is divided into five sections. Students could complete these on separate days or at their own pace.
  • Students could complete the lesson in small groups or pairs.
  • Teachers can use the Your Turn questions for class discussions to ensure that students understand the major concepts.
  • This lesson can be used in conjunction with these videos on climate feedback loops.

Scientist Notes
This resource is recommended. It provides compelling insight into how Earth's climate system works, incoming and outgoing energy, feedback loops, and interactions in open and closed systems.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth 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.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 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).
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS.LS2.6 Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
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