1. How does Carbon cycle through the atmosphere?
The carbon cycle is a fundamental concept necessary to understand the state of our earth’s changing climate. Students should learn how carbon cycles through the biosphere and geosphere naturally and how human activity as thrown this process out of balance. Students can choose to express understanding of all or just one part of this cycle. For example, living things give off CO2 and plants capture the gas through the process of photosynthesis. Click here for some lesson plans that focus on the carbon cycle.
Carbon Cycle Animation
- Here is a simple, yet clear description of the carbon cycle. Any one of the relationships that are animated could serve as the basis of a student work of art.
2. What do scientists see that tells them that the earth’s climate is changing?
Scientists have been studying the relationship between carbon dioxide and the climate for over 100 years. In this time, important scientific evidence has been collected that conclusively indicates that not only is the earth warming, but that human activity is the cause of this radical change. In answering this question, students can choose from an array of natural phenomenon that represent key elements of this scientific evidence. For example, strong evidence includes: rising atmospheric CO2 over the last 1,000,000 years, rising global surface temperatures over the last 150 years, disappearing glaciers, thawing tundras, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, changing ecosystems, more extreme weather events, and many others.
How we know the Earth is warming
- A clear and concise presentation of the major forms of scientific evidence that informs the 97% consensus among scientists that climate change is caused by human actions. Any of the lines of evidence presented could serve as the basis for a student work of art.
3. How is climate change impacting Massachusetts?
For this question, students learn how a climate change is not just a global problem, but one tha is relevant and happening here in Massachusetts. Students should learn to observe and recognize changes in local ecosystems and communities that stem from a changing climate. For example, students can choose from an array of natural phenomenon that are occurring locally and directly impact their lives. Impacts such as changing migration behaviors of birds, earlier growing seasons, revised tree and flower blooming times in the spring, increased mosquito populations, more frequent severe weather events, hotter summers, and rising sea-levels to name a few. There are a wide range of ways that climate change is and will impact Massachusetts. Some effects are more immediate and apparent (i.e. rising sea levels, more intense storms, heat waves, etc) while other are more subtle but just as relevant (i.e insect borne disease, more expensive food, costly insurance, etc.) Any documented effect could serve as the subject for a student work of art.