***This activity is a great opener for a unit on the science of climate change. Stay-tuned for subsequent student-directed climate change resources.***
NGSS: ESS2-4. - Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of the Earth’s systems results in changes in climate.
Activity: Students will investigate the global energy budget - the flow of solar energy through the Earth's systems - and how factors associated with the energy budget impact shifts in the climate. They will do this through student-led experimentation. Learners will make observations about the distribution of solar energy, drawing on experience and analysis of an energy budget graphic. Students will about the energy budget, to test their questions, analyze their results, and draw conclusions based on results and additional research. Students will direct the inquiry experience, you will facilitate. Modification options for beginner inquiry-based learners included in this resource.
Age group: Open inquiry in theory is appropriate for all ages because it is personalized. Students ask their own questions and design their own investigations. The guiding materials included in this resource, however, are geared toward high school students as far as language and format is concerned. Having some experience with inquiry-based learning and experimental design is helpful but not mandatory. You are there to help guide them through this activity, as are the guiding materials included in this resource.
Materials and prep: Teachers will need to provide various materials for experiments. All materials included in this resource are merely suggestions. You will need a source of energy, ideally the sun. I highly recommend doing this activity outdoors on a sunny, dry day. Prep includes gathering and setting up lab materials and printing and distributing copies of templates included in this resource.
For more tips on how to implement student-directed open inquiry activities, including helpful scaffolding questions, visit Experiential Learning Depot Blog.
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