Our Changing Atmosphere

Here students use data from the NOAA carbon dioxide monitoring sites, such as Mauna Loa, to graph the Keeling Curve for themselves on large sheets of paper. Each group graphs one year, and the graphs are joined at the end to reveal the overall upward trend. The explanation describes the carbon cycle and how human activities are leading to the overall trend of rising carbon dioxide.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Good activity for introducing the concept of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the carbon cycle.

This activity fits into a sequence on climate change, but also works well as an exercise in graphing and analyzing data.

Allow for additional class time if students create the graphs themselves.

Allow for additional prep time if teacher creates graphs ahead of time.