WebQuests (ICT Integration)
Why Is It Warmer? (Natural Causes)
Global warming is a hot topic around the world. Many scientists who are concerned about global warming believe that we are creating dangerous changes in the Earth’s climate and think that world leaders need to address this issue immediately. Other scientists say that human society has not caused global warming. Instead, they think that Earth’s warming climate is a result of natural changes in our environment that are caused by solar activity, volcanoes, and other natural occurrences.
Who is telling the truth? What is causing global warming and how do we prevent it? Is global warming such a big problem anyway? What do you think?
A United Nations forum will invite experts on both sides of the argument to present their views on global warming. This forum will provide the UN with the information they need to make an informed decision about the causes of global warming and to provide recommendations to the world’s leaders about what needs to be done to stop global warming or alternatively, how to deal with the resulting climate changes.
Your team of scientists works for a major oil company. One of the theories about the cause of global warming is that the use of fossil fuels is responsible for some aspects of the problem. However, the oil company believes that global warming is not caused by a human source. Your team must identify information to support the company’s position that global warming is caused by natural circumstances. Your team will participate in the UN forum to present the argument that global warming is a naturally occurring condition in the environment. Your team must also be prepared to argue against statements from the other team of scientists at the forum that disagree with your company's position.
ProcessTo complete this assignment, you will work in teams of four within each scenario, and your team must complete the following tasks:
- Find data to support your position. Use the research guide (see your roles under Process below) to help you collect information.
- Decide how to use the data you have found to support your position. Discuss this with your team, using the analyser to assist you. You will also create a chart or graph(s) using Microsoft Excel to illustrate your argument.
- On a storyboard pad, storyboard template, or chart paper, create a storyboard to plan your PowerPoint presentation. The storyboard should include notes for you to refer back to during the debate. Think about how your opponents may use the same information to present their argument and include information to counter their statements.
- Create a PowerPoint presentation that emphasises the main points of your argument. Include your graph(s) in the presentation. Use PowerPoint’s note feature to add information to support your argument. Include a bibliography to cite the sources you used. It is optional to use any additional resources to support your team presentation. For example, you may produce flyers to distribute to the audience.
- Participate in a forum to share your team’s presentation and listen to how the other teams present their positions. Be prepared to answer questions and support your own argument if learners who researched the opposing view of the debate ask you to defend your position.
EPA Global Warming Site
Is Global Warming Nature's Work?
Early Signs of Global Warming
Consider these questions:
1. What is global warming?
2. What causes temperatures to increase?
3. How has the climate changed?
4. What are greenhouse gases?
5. Which greenhouse gases are naturally occurring and which ones are caused by human processes?
6. What are some of the early warning signs of global warming?
EPA Information About the Impact of Global Warming
What effect is global warming having on the ecosystem? Include information from polar regions, mountains, wetlands, deserts, forests and rangelands. What are its effects on the plants and animals?
Global Warming: What's Happening?
The Astronomical Theory of Climate Change
Scientists Blame Sun for Global Warming
This booklet, developed by Groundwork, details South African's carbon age and current pollution information.
What activities are causing global warming according to these websites? Evaluate the websites listed here for bias as you research information about each of the activities that may contribute to global warming. Provide a thorough explanation for each item.
Visit the following site in order to find information that will help you complete task 1 below:
Find information about sea levels from 1985 to present at the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center site.
Use a globe or atlas and the coordinates provided at this Web site to choose four different locations (longitude and latitude). Include locations near the equator as well as near the poles. Collect data from 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2003 for each of the locations. Record your data in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.
Visit the following sites in order to find information that will help you complete task 2 below:
Compare sea surface temperatures using the temperature archives.
Climate Data for Canada compare temperatures from 1840–present for the different provinces of Canada
Perth Australia Temperature archives 1994–2002
Are temperatures rising? Use these Web sites to examine historical data on temperatures in Canada , Peru and Australia . Select a variety of years to study temperature trends. How can you use this data to support your stance?
This site provides information about the Frontline/Nova video that examined the debate about global warming. The site includes transcripts, interviews, video clips, graphs and a teacher’s guide.
This is a CBS news report that discusses possible causes of global warming. This site also includes a video.
Compare sea surface temperatures using the temperature archives available at this site.
Climate data for Canada allows you to compare temperatures from 1840 to the present for Canadian provinces.
This site provides temperature archives for Perth, Australia, from 1994 through 2002.
This University of Hawaii site offers information about sea levels from 1985 to the present.
This site provides information about the Milankovitch Theory. The Milankovitch, or astronomical theory of climate change, is an explanation for changes in the seasons that result from changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun.
This news article provides information about solar activity and its effect on Earth’s temperatures.
SA weather services website with climate questions.
This site contains the National State of the Environment Report for South Africa looking specifically at climatic and atmospheric change. The site has links to a variety of data sites.
This booklet developed by Groundwork details South African’s carbon age and current pollution information
ConclusionBy completing this activity you and your team should have gained a good insight into the issue of global warning not only from your own team's perspective, but also by listening to the arguments of the opposing teams. Now that you have heard different viewpoints, supported by facts, what is your opinion?
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