Greenhouse Effect in a Greenhouse

Relate changes in sunlight to the temperature of air trapped in a container.

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Requirements

Build your own miniature "greenhouse" out of a plastic container and plastic wrap, and fill it with different things such as dirt and sand to observe the effect this has on temperature. Monitor the temperature using temperature probes and digitally plot the data on the graphs provided in the activity.

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Subject
Earth and Space Science

Focus Area
Probeware

Grade Level
Middle School

License
CC BY 4.0

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 1B/E2b. By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that one reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations.
  • 1B/M2ab. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that if more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributable to any one variable. It may not always be possible to prevent outside variables from influencing an investigation (or even to identify all of the variables).

4. The Physical Setting

4B. The Earth
  • 4B/M15** (NSES). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that the atmosphere is a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and trace amounts of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases.
  • 4B/H2*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that transfer of thermal energy between the atmosphere and the land or oceans produces temperature gradients in the atmosphere and the oceans. Regions at different temperatures rise or sink or mix, resulting in winds and ocean currents. These winds and ocean currents, which are also affected by the earth's rotation and the shape of the land, carry thermal energy from warm to cool areas.
  • 4B/H4** (SFAA). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, are transparent to much of the incoming sunlight but not to the infrared light from the warmed surface of the earth. When greenhouse gases increase, more thermal energy is trapped in the atmosphere, and the temperature of the earth increases the light energy radiated into space until it again equals the light energy absorbed from the sun.
  • 4B/H6** (SFAA). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 4E/M2*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
  • 4E/M4*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
  • 4E/M6**. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
4F. Motion
  • 4F/E3** (ASL). By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
  • 4F/M1. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that light from the sun is made up of a mixture of many different colors of light, even though to the eye the light looks almost white. Other things that give off or reflect light have a different mix of colors.
  • 4F/M8** (BSL). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that there are a great variety of electromagnetic waves: radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves, the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
  • 9B/M2*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that rates of change can be computed from differences in magnitudes and vice versa.
  • 9B/M3*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that graphs can show a variety of possible relationships between two variables. As one variable increases uniformly, the other may do one of the following: increase or decrease steadily, increase or decrease faster and faster, get closer and closer to some limiting value, reach some intermediate maximum or minimum, alternately increase and decrease, increase or decrease in steps, or do something different from any of these.
9C. Shapes
  • 9C/M4*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that the graphic display of numbers may help to show patterns such as trends, varying rates of change, gaps, or clusters that are useful when making predictions about the phenomena being graphed.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 11B/H5** (SFAA). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that the behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
11C. Constancy and Change
  • 11C/H4. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that graphs and equations are useful (and often equivalent) ways for depicting and analyzing patterns of change.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 12C/M3*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should be able to make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 12D/M1. By the end of the 8th grade, students should be able to organize information in simple tables and graphs and identify relationships they reveal.
  • 12D/M6**. By the end of the 8th grade, students should be able to present a brief scientific explanation orally or in writing that includes a claim and the evidence and reasoning that supports the claim.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="">The Concord Consortium. Greenhouse Effect in a Greenhouse. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010, September 23.</a>

AIP
Greenhouse Effect in a Greenhouse (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

AJP
Greenhouse Effect in a Greenhouse (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

APA
Greenhouse Effect in a Greenhouse. (2010, September 23). Retrieved 2017, June 24, from The Concord Consortium: https://concord.org/

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

This activity runs entirely in a Web browser. Preferred browsers are: Google Chrome (versions 30 and above), Safari (versions 7 and above), Firefox (version 30 and above), Internet Explorer (version 10 or higher), and Microsoft's Edge.

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Innovative Technology in Science InquiryThis resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry project.

Grade Level
Middle School
Subject
Earth and Space Science
Focus Area
Probeware
Rating
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