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ESS Jigsaw Team Formation

ESS Rubric

What are some interrelated teaching opportunities?
This module has been designed for the middle school environmental science curriculum. However, the issues that will rise from the research make it possible to explore a variety of topics in an interdisciplinary approach:

language arts / writing
economics
math
history
social studies /geography

 

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What is the focus of this module? The "Global Climate Change" module is an inquiry-based science project that uses the interactive technologies of the internet and the Earth system science approach to delve into the relationship between atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and agriculture. This module supports the National Science Education Standards.

This module focuses on the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and its effects on the various spheres of the Earth. More specifically, students will predict how these effects may impact the growth of hard-red winter wheat in Kansas 50 years in the future.

What are the students' procedures for conducting this module? By following the steps outlined in the Protocol below, the students should generate the information necessary to make predictions about the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and its effects on the various spheres of the earth. More specifically, students will predict how these effects could impact the growth of hard-red winter wheat in Kansas 50 years in the future

Protocol: First, the students will perform an Earth system science analysis. Then they will make predictions based on the results of their ESS analysis concerning the growth of hard-red winter wheat in Kansas 50 years in the future.

Following the steps below will help them accomplish their tasks.

Step 1 Examine prior knowledge.
Step 2 List what you don't know.
Step 3 Gather information needed to complete the ESS analysis.
Step 4 Present your findings.

A Comprehensive Sample of ESS Protocol includes an ESS analysis of the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and its effects on Earth's various spheres. It also includes predictions, based on the results of the ESS analysis, concerning the growth of hard-red winter wheat in Kansas 50 years in the future. This comprehensive sample contains a broad spectrum of potential impacts of the event on Earth's spheres and the subsequent feedback and potential interactions that might result. Most students will not present this much information. In addition, although it is comprehensive, it is not necessarily complete. The students may provide an ESS analysis with explanations of their predictions regarding the growth of hard-red winter wheat in Kansas 50 years in the future that are not listed in the sample.

What are the teacher's procedures for conducting this module?
The "Global Climate Change" Module is based upon Earth system science (ESS) thinking and Problem Based-Learning (PBL) pedagogy. The students are asked to examine the potential impacts of increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide on the various spheres of the Earth and the subsequent feedback and potential interactions that might result. Rather than formulating right or wrong answers, the students should be able to provide an ESS analysis that explains their predictions regarding how these effects may impact the growth of hard-red winter wheat in Kansas 50 years in the future

This module can be used by students independently or as a class using a number of teaching strategies:

  • independent research
  • guided inquiries
  • cooperative group learning
  • open ended inquiries

You can find information about how to organize "jigsaw" cooperative group learning within this module.

What science content and issues will students encounter as they work through the module? The students will research changes in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and how such changes may impact hard-red winter wheat yield by examining some of the following questions:

  • How have human activities contributed to greatly increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide?
  • How does the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide affect the climate?
  • How do carbon dioxide, nutrients, and climate variables such as temperature and precipitation affect wheat growth?

The students may also examine other historical causes of global climate change. Climatologists--scientists who study climate--have found evidence to suggest that the following factors may have been responsible for a majority of past (and present) climate changes on the Earth:

How is remote sensing used in this module?
Students are introduced to the concept of remote sensing and its application in meteorology (the study of weather) and agriculture. Students will be able to examine satellite and RADAR images of clouds and rain. They will also be able to examine "greenness" images that display the distribution of vegetation, such as crops, at various times throughout the year.

In addition, students will learn about climate modeling. They will learn how climatologists study current weather patterns and concentrations of atmospheric gases to make predictions of future weather patterns and atmospheric conditions.

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Grade Level: 5-12

What are some hands-on activities?
Below are some internet resources for those teachers who like to use activities that are hands-on as well as minds-on.

The EPA Global Warming Kids Page

Canadian Global Change Program

NASA's Earth Observatory

Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program in Environmental Science

Michigan State University College of Education: Global Warming Unit

USDA - NASS Kids Home Page

NASS Kids-Educational Resources for Teachers.

 

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Last updated April 28, 2005
   

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