1. How does Carbon cycle through the atmosphere?
For this question, students learn how a climate change is not just a global problem, but one that is relevant and happening in their own backyards. 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 occuring locally and directly impacting 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 is a wide range of ways that climate change is impacting and will impact Massachusetts. Some effects are more immediate and apparent (i.e. rising sea levels, more intense storms, heat waves, etc.), while others 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.
2. What historical trends, patterns, and evidence help us understand climate change?
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. What question about climate change would you like to ask a scientist?
For this question, we would like students to compose a question they might ask a scientist about climate change. For example, after studying climate change, a student may ask: "How does solar power help fight a changing climate?" or "Why does a CO2 molecule trap heat in the atmosphere?" The idea is to recognize a good question about climate change and present the question in an engaging visual manner. The question should be easily readable and the artwork should complement the topic/subject being asked about. Answers to the questions do NOT need to be included. We think that askign good questions is key to promoting excellence in science literacy.