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GK-12 activity: measuring your carbon dioxide footprint

, : GK-12 activity: measuring your carbon dioxide footprint. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 36(1): 6

While studying carbon dioxide this fall, my students measured the amount of carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere. The idea for the activity came out of collaboration with a graduate student from the University of Texas at Austin's GK-12 Program and Jackson School of Geosciences, who was working with my eighth grade science classes at Kealing Junior High. The GK-12 Program is part of a NSF grant that funds graduate students working in kindergarten through high school classes to increase teacher access to current science information and resources, as well as to familiarize the graduate students with teaching strategies. The real benefactors are the K-12 students, who end up with improved science experiences in their science classes. "Measuring Your Carbon Dioxide Footprint" had students research their family's use of different fossil fuels and then in class, calculate how much CO2 is produced by each activity. They were able to complete this activity in one 50-minute class period. Students were given data provided by the EPA to complete their calculations. Their calculations were then compared to the Kyoto Protocol's recommendations for CO2. Students were then given the opportunity to see how small changes in their lifestyles could significantly reduce the amount of CO2 they produce. This activity followed a project about global warming, and it allowed the students to see real values for one of the greenhouse gases they had studied. The activity was well received by the students, who were surprised not only by their carbon dioxide production, but also by how much they could reduce their totals by making small changes. Several other teachers at my school decided to do the activity after seeing the response from my students. This activity will be posted on the University of Texas at Austin's GK-12 website and will be included in science teacher training sessions in the summer of 2004.

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