Sustainability Lesson 4 Global Climate Change and the Carbon Cycle
Sustainability Lesson 4 Global Climate Change and the Carbon Cycle


The lesson will examine how the earth’s atmosphere plays a significant role in the regulation of climate. Students will examine how changes in the atmosphere’s composition, resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, have severe ramifications regarding sustainability around the globe. Students will participate in a role-play panel discussion on the impacts of global warming.

Relevant Module Learning Objectives

2.         Make informed decisions about controversial issues involving sustainability.

Pre-Class Assignments

  • Have students read Chap 6 of French
  • If choosing the debate activity, assign characters to students beforehand and have them develop the required background

Possible Classroom Activities

  • Sustainability Lesson 4 Hook (0) Introduce students to Gapminder World. Briefly demonstrate how the graphs work, and in particular how the bubbles/colors identify different countries and regions. Play “CO2 emissions Since 1820” to demonstrate increased global emissions over time and the USA’s move to the lead.
  • Sustainability Lesson 4 Lecture and Discussion (0) Using lecture outline and PowerPoint slides, introduce students to the concepts of global warming. Integrate questions and discussion to make it interactive and allow for formative assessment of students’ thinking about the topics.
  • Sustainability Lesson 4 Reading Discussion (0) Optionally, one could shorten the lecture and use class time for a discussion of the main reading. (French, 2000).
  • Sustainability Lesson 4 Panel Debate on Global Warming (0) The panel debate is an additional option and it could be combined with the panel conclusion.
  • Sustainability Lesson 4 Conclusion to Panel Discussion (0) Briefly compare and contrast the points made by two panelists with different views.
  • Sustainability Lesson 4 Conclusion (0) This is an alternate concluding activity for the class. Summarize what you have learned in the past four lessons by drafting a 1-3 sentence statement or creating a mind map that includes the following terms: globalization, ecological footprint, carbon cycle


Optional Resources  


Next: Sustainability Lesson 5 Energy