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Climate Study Science Project



This climate study science project includes two ways to study the greenhouse effect: one easier and one more advanced. The article provides information and instructions and extension ideas for adapting the climate study project for greater depth of understanding.

Introduction

The greenhouse effect, its causes, and its relation to climate change are much in the news, and so it’s good to have an idea about what the greenhouse effect is.

To extend the project, you can try out the following suggestions:

  • Leave the first project until the water is gone. Continue making observations.
  • In the first project, use a different liquid that will not go bad as it gets hot. Possibilities include tea and a soft drink. Compare the results.
  • Take photographs to record the progress of the experiment
  • Attach a ruler to the side of each jar or glass. As an additional observation, record the height of the water (or other liquid).
  • Place one set of jars or glasses in the second project in a car parked in the sun in a spot like the dashboard so you can see in to make your observations, and the others on the hood of the car in the sun (i.e., in nearly the same place, but one group within the car and one outside).
  • Place one set of jars on the second project on a different surface than that first set, for example, black plastic, cement, wood, sand, dirt, etc.

Study the Greenhouse Effect I

In this project, students make a simple model to demonstrate the greenhouse effect. This project requires a sunny day.

• Materials

  • Two identical thermometers (ideally fish tank thermometers that adhere to glass; otherwise, two thermometers that can be left in water
  • Two identical clear glass jars
  • Two trays of ice cubes (to make the project shorter, use cold water without ice)
  • One clear plastic bag large enough to hold one of the glass jars and be sealed
  • A twist tie or rubber band to seal the bag
  • Pre-drawn chart for recording time and temperature of water in each jar.
  • Timer

• Directions

  1. Attach or insert the thermometers into the two jars.
  2. Fill the jars with identical numbers of ice cubes.
  3. Note the starting temperature.
  4. Put one of the jars into the plastic bag and seal it.
  5. Place the jars in the sunny spot, making sure that a shadow won’t fall across them as time passes. Position them so that reading the temperatures is easy for you.
  6. Set the timer for the interval at which you want to check the jars. As you check, also make observations about any other changes besides temperature that you notice taking place.
  7. When you’re done, use your chart and other observations to draw conclusions about the effect that enclosing the one jar in the bag had.

Study the Greenhouse Effect II

In this project, students make a more complex model to demonstrate the greenhouse effect. This project requires a sunny day.

• Materials

  • Identical thermometers (ideally fish tank thermometers that adhere to glass; otherwise,  thermometers that can be left in water
  • Identically sized glass jars and/or identically sized glasses with different colors of glass
  • Trays of ice cubes (to make the project shorter, use cold water without ice)
  • Clear plastic bags large enough to hold the containers you’re using and be sealed
  • Twist ties or rubber bands to seal bags
  • Pre-drawn chart for recording time and temperature of water in each jar.
  • Timer
  • Paint - black and white - of a sort that will coat glass
  • Paint brush(es)

• Directions

  1. Assemble your group of identical containers. You can use a two clear glass jars, two painted white, and two painted black or two clear glasses, two brown, and two green or blue glass; etc. However you prepare your containers, you want to have two containers of each type: one to put in the plastic bag and one not.
  2. Attach or insert the thermometers into the jars or glasses.
  3. Fill the jars or glasses with identical numbers of ice cubes.
  4. Note the starting temperature of each.
  5. Put one of each type of jar or glass into the plastic bag and seal it.
  6. Place the jars in the sunny spot, making sure that a shadow won’t fall across them as time passes. Position them so that reading the temperatures is easy for you and so that you can see the water in the painted or tinted glass.
  7. Set the timer for the interval at which you want to check the jars or glasses. As you check, also make observations about any other changes besides temperature that you notice taking place.
  8. When you’re done, use your chart and other observations to draw conclusions about the effect that enclosing the jars or glasses in the bags had as well as any other effects that you noticed. What extrapolations can you make?

Source

energyquest.ca.gov