Chemistry Now, carbon, captured: carbon dioxide

Spring 2010 photo of Mt. Kilimanjaro by John Haylett. As a college student in the 70s wracking up science courses for my secondary teaching degree, scientists’ warnings of accelerated global warming made a believer out of me. Recently, looking at photos of Mt. Kilimanjaro or glaciers in Chile taken over the last forty years, I still find it curious that there are doubters out there. Perhaps they just don’t understand the science behind it.

This learning package—Carbon, Captured: Carbon Dioxide, developed by NSTA, NBC Learn, and NSF—emphasizes the chemistry behind global warming and how scientists research its causes and changes over time. Begin using the materials in this package as part of a chemistry or physical science unit on chemical bonding, and then progress to real-world applications. Or use the package as the core of a cross-science discipline unit with a still-timely environmental theme.

Then, don’t forget to let us know how the materials worked for you!

–Judy Elgin Jensen

Spring 2010 photo of Mt. Kilimanjaro by John Haylett. 

Video: The Chemistry of CO2: Carbon Dioxide,” explains and illustrates the bonding of the carbon and oxygen molecules into CO2 and describes its role in the Earth’s atmosphere and how changing levels of CO2 can affect the temperature on Earth.

Video: Part of NBC’s Changing Planet series, “Black Carbon” explains how these particles are polluting the air and causing serious health and environmental concerns for people around the world.

Video: Part of NBC’s Changing Planet series, “Thawing Permafrost” explains how this result of global warming is cause for concern beyond the far north, because the carbon released from thawing permafrost could raise global temperatures even higher.

Video: Part of NBC’s Changing Planet series, “Ocean Acidification” shows how marine organisms in the pristine Arctic and Antarctic oceans are being impacted by increased amounts of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the waters.

Video: Part of NBC’s Changing Planet series, “Survival of Trees” highlights how Dr. Joy Ward at the University of Kansas investigates ancient tree specimens from the Ice Age to see how trees in the past have adapted, helping her to understand how trees may adapt today and in the future in light of global warming.

Video: The NBC News report “Producing Biofuels May Worsen, Not Lessen, Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” highlights a study about the true impact of biofuel production on the environment.

Video: The NBC News report “First-Ever Image of a Molecule,” shows the picture of a molecule of pentacene taken by researchers at IBM.

Middle school lesson: This lesson explores carbon and calcium carbonate and describe how the carbon cycle is at work in the environment.

High school lesson: In this lesson, students set up experiments to help them better understand CO2 and its presence in and impact on the carbon cycle and the environment.

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