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Calculating a Planet’s Temperature

Shawn Brooks, UTS (University of Toronto Schools)

With just a little coaxing, and a little help from their calculators, our grade 10 science students can use a simple energy-balance type of climate model to calculate the average temperature of a planet.

With this activity, your students will be able to calculate what the earth’s average surface temperature would be if it didn’t have a greenhouse gas containing atmosphere.

This one-period activity can show your students how the numerical value of Earth’s albedo (0.3) is very meaningful to our planet’s temperature! If you are looking to inject a little more physics into your Earth and Space Science: Climate Change unit, this might be the thing for you. Read More...

Greening Electricity Using Project Drawdown for Grades 9-12

Milica Rakic, Essex DHS
Roberta Tevlin, retired

In order to prevent the worst of climate change, the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has to be reduced as fast as possible. The enormity of this task can look overwhelming and can lead to climate despair. However, we already have the technology we need and a great source of information about this can be found on the website of Project Drawdown where they provide details of almost 100 solutions.

The goal of Project Drawdown is to show how we can ‘drawdown’ the emission of GHGs and then ‘drawdown’ the amount of these gases that are already in the air. This article shows how you can have your students examine 19 of these solutions which are involved in the production and use of electrical energy. This exercise is a good fit for the electricity unit in grade 9 science, the climate change unit in grade 10 science, the electricity unit in grade 11 university physics, and the energy transformation unit in grade 12 college physics. Read More...

Two Excellent Simulations from PhET to Help Explain the Greenhouse Effect

Michelle Lee, Lisgar C. I.
Roberta Tevlin,Retired

Understanding the greenhouse effect is critical to understanding climate change and PhET has two excellent simulations that can help. This article describes how you can use these two simulations and a couple of supporting videos, to help your students develop a good understanding of the topic. This is most obviously relevant to the grade 10 Climate Change Unit. It is also relevant to grade 9 Astronomy and Ecosystems, Grade 10 Optics, and senior chemistry and physics. Read More...

Resources for Teaching About Climate Change

Developed by James Ball, Iain Braithwaite, Michelle Lee, Robert Prior, Milica Rakic, Dale Simnett, and Roberta Tevlin.

Climate Change is moving fast and our window of opportunity to act decisively is shrinking. As science teachers, we can contribute to the solution by making sure that Climate Change is being taught, and taught well. We have been working this summer to develop ready-to-use resources to help you and your colleagues. Read More...

Review: Smokejumpers

Robert Prior, ePublisher of OAPT Newsletter

After this summer, wildfires will remain front-page news, and not just in places that are under threat of burning. How can you do hands-on activities in class with something so destructive? And why would you want to?

The “why?” is an easy question to answer. Not only are wildfires topical, but our students have been affected by them: by smoke almost certainly, possibly even worse (depending on where they are). Certain public figures have been throwing around blame for the many wildfires and the failure of fire crews to immediately extinguish them. An understanding of how wildfires are fought, as well as the costs and risks of doing so, will help our students appreciate the reasons we have so many burning wildfires, and hopefully help them learn to distinguish between serious questions and political point-scoring.

That's where this simulation comes in. It's a solitaire tabletop game placing the player in the position of fire chief, responsible for containing wildfires for an entire season with a limited budget. The player deploys fire crews, aircraft, and other resources while the ignition and spread of fires is governed by rules based on the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System, which is backed by over 50 years of research. Read More...

Hands-On Climate Change Activities

Iain Braithwaite, John F. Ross C.V.I.
Roberta Tevlin, retired

Climate change can feel very threatening and at the same time it can feel very abstract. Demonstrations that use simple materials can help students understand the concepts better, and they provide a change of pace. We have gathered a collection of nineteen demonstrations to help with the grade 10 Climate Change unit, both SNC2P and SNC2D. Read More...

What Can the OAPT (And You) Do about Climate Change?

Roberta Tevlin, Retired Teacher

Are you concerned about climate change? Do you wonder what you can do? A group of OAPT members have got together to help OAPT members to take action. We have some suggestions. Read More...
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