After watching the program Biomes: The Threat of the Sea , ask students to define global warming. ( Global warming is the overall rise in the world's temperature caused by an increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. )
On a classroom map, find the three locations featured in the program.
Ask students to describe how global warming is affecting each location. ( Rising sea levels are threatening each them, but in different ways: They are eroding coastline in Shishmaref; they may eventually submerge the island of Tuvalu; and they're wearing away the barrier islands protecting New York City. ) Explain that in addition to rising sea levels, higher overall temperatures may lead to storms, drought, floods, and heat waves.
Discuss the causes of global warming. Ask students about greenhouse gases and how they are related to global warming. ( Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat in Earth's atmosphere, and their increase in our atmosphere is contributing to global warming. ) What is the source of greenhouse gases? ( The gases come from burning petroleum, coal, or natural gas for energy and transportation. ) What is the main action that can be taken to slow or stop global warming? ( Cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases. )
Ask students if watching the program made them think differently about global warming. If so, how? ( Answers will vary, but students may mention the following: It showed the effects of global warming on people and their environment. It made global warming problems seem more real, serious, or urgent. ) What parts of the program made the biggest impressions about the seriousness of global warming? ( Students may include the stories about people whose lives are directly affected, interviews with the scientists, the shocking images, or the maps and graphs of global warming scenarios. )
The students' assignment is to create a poster to make people consider global warming as a serious, urgent issue. Encourage students to consider the information, images, or techniques from the program that made an impression on them. For some, statistics and graphs might have the biggest impact; for others, it may be the pictures or personal stories. The posters can highlight any aspect of global warming, including its causes, effects, or possible solutions.
Share the following Web sites with students:
World View of Global Warming
Global Environment: Global Warming
Sierra Club: Global Warming
National Resource Defense Council: Global Warming
Global Warming: Undo It
Global Warming: Early Warning Signs
Global Warming: Focus on the Future: What You Can Do
EPA Global Warming Site
When students present their posters, they should briefly describe the following:
Have the class choose five or six posters to hang in a hallway or elsewhere in the school. Encourage students to choose posters that focus on different themes and use different methods to present the point.
Definition: Gradual increase of the temperature of Earth's lower atmosphere
Context: Many scientists believe that global warming is caused by an increase of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Definition: A gas such as carbon dioxide that traps heat in the Earth's atmosphere by reflecting radiation
Context: Increased greenhouse gases are enhancing the natural "greenhouse effect" and causing global climate change.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
This lesson plan addresses the following thematic standard: