Deforestation/Global Warming/Teacher Notes

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Module Five Objectives

After completion of this Module, the learners should be able to:

  • Investigate the link between deforestation and global warming.
  • Compare and contrast hybrid and fuel cell cars.
  • Understand that carbon exists in a variety of forms on earth.

Time Allocation

This module is estimated to take between 2.75 and 3.25 hours of learner time.

Introductory Activity

Orang-utan bukit lawang 2006.jpg


Ensure that the students have access to this photo. Use it as a launching point for stimulating conversation and guided discussion. The following "I wonder ..." questions may serve to aid in focusing the class or group discussion:

  • I wonder what this animal is?
  • I wonder what the animal is thinking?
  • I wonder how a temperature increase in this animal's habitat would affect it?

Global warming

Climate change is happening faster than we actually think. Carrying on living the way we do and not thinking about what we can do to slow down climate change - and then doing it - can be dangerous. The earth could be getting warmer on its own, but many of the world's leading climate scientists think that the things people do are helping to make the earth warmer. Global warming refers to an increase in the earth's average near-surface and ocean temperatures. Global warming “facts” are hard to come by. One of the few facts that most scientists agree upon is that the current average temperature of Earth has risen over the past 100 years. According to most estimates, this increase in temperature amounts to about 0.4-0.8 °C (0.72-1.44 °F) over this period of time.

A warmer earth may lead to changes in rainfall patterns, a rise in sea level, and have a wide range of impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans. When scientists talk about the issue of climate change, their concern is about global warming caused by human activities. Of most significance to low lying areas (those that are very close to, or below sea level) is that global warming has an effect on ice - glaciers or icebergs melt, raising the level of the sea water. This rising sea level then affects the land as the sea floods these areas. Even if the sea water could be stopped from flooding an area, the land is made infertile by the salt: it cannot grow crops. Land in many arctic regions of the world is lost because of this.

People design homes for cold weather in Europe because most parts of Europe are very cold. With the change in global weather, these homes are now unsuitable because the weather is warmer and the houses are too warm.

Habitats and ecosystems

The animal and plant life living together in an area is called an ecosystem – all living things are included in and rely on these ecosystems. Many ecosystems depend on a delicate balance of rainfall, temperature and soil type. A rapid change in climate could upset this balance and seriously endanger many living things, crops and even human health.

Activity One: Global Warming

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Teaching Objectives
  • To provide the learners with the opportunity to synthesise and summarise information.
  • To assist learners in understanding the link between deforestation and global warming.
  • To exercise learners' presentation skills.

The relevant readings for this activity is found here: Deforestation/Global_Warming/Readings. Ensure that the learners either have access to the articles, or have been provided with a copy each.

The first couple of tasks comprises comprehension type questions - the students can answer these independently. Encourage the learners to use knowledge gained from the articles and from previous modules to complete the fourth task. The links below will aid the learners in explaining and justifying the link between deforestation and global warming:

Learners with Internet access could investigate the EPA site, or alternatively only download the above two pages. The educator could provide hard copies to the learners who do not have access to the Internet.

Hybrid and Fuel Cell Cars

In an attempt to combat pollution and the release of carbon dioxide, car companies have, for years, been researching and testing alternative fuels for cars. They have specifically been looking at fuels that do not emit carbon dioxide when burned and those that emit lower levels of Carbon. There has also been a lot of research and development of electric and solar power cars, and hybrid cars. Out of these variants, there have been some successes with Hydrogen-based fuels, but the most successful type of car has been the hybrid. A hybrid car has a small petrol or diesel engine, and an electric motor which usually drives the wheels. The petrol or diesel engine is used to charge the batteries and provide more power to the wheels when required, and the cars usually use regenerative braking. Regenerative braking means that the electric motor in the car is used to slow the car down, but in the process generates electricity which then charges the batteries.

What are the Advantages of Hybrid Cars?

Most car companies manufacture hybrid cars. Some examples are Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Ford, Chrysler, Lexus, etc. Hybrid cars are "cleaner" that traditional cars. They have much lower emissions, resulting in less pollution due to exhaust gas.

These hybrid cars can be as much as three times as efficient as normal petrol driven cars. Therefore, the primary advantages of electric cars over petrol cars are their lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), and higher efficiency. Hybrid cars have a tendency to recapture significant amounts of energy during braking that is normally wasted as heat.

Finally, these cars are practical in that they can be fuelled using petrol or diesel that is purchased from the local gas/petrol station.

What are the Disadvantages of Hybrid Cars?

The expense is the primary disadvantage of hybrid cars. They are not only more expensive than their petrol equivalents, but they are also less powerful, so they do not perform as well and would not be suitable for towing a boat or trailer. They are also more complex and expensive to service and maintain, and require mechanics with specialist knowledge, to service them.

Hybrid cars vs fuel cell

The following link could be used to provide interesting information to the learners. This website is both colourful and informative, and aimed at the younger learner. The educator may choose to select relevant content from this website and print out hard copies for students who do not have access to the Internet.

Activity Two: Hybrid and Fuel Cell Cars

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Teaching Objectives
  • To enable the learners to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid and fuel cell cars.
  • To engage the learners with their new knowledge.
  • To stimulate learner creativity
  • To provide the learners with the opportunity to draw and use a Venn diagram.

Suggested Procedure

  • Once the learners have created their Venn diagrams, all the Venn diagrams can be consolidated into one gigantic poster or wall display.
  • The educator may also require the learners to rank the various advantages common to both types of cars, once the lists of advantages have been completed.
  • The advertisement could be a printed advertisement in the form of a poster, radio advertisement, short video or animation. Encourage the learners to also design a logo and a name for their car. Decide on success criteria before the learners begin their advertisement so that they are clear of the expectations. An example of success criteria: Three advantages were clearly recognised in the advertisement.

Carbon Cycle

Activity Three: Carbon Cycle

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Teaching Objectives
  • To facilitate the understanding of the Carbon Cycle.
  • To provide learners with an opportunity to use a PMI chart as a means to assess questions.
  • To provide practice for the formulation of 'good' questions.
  • To encourage learners to formulate constructive, beneficial feedback.

Suggested Procedure

  • It is important that the learners create questions around the Carbon Cycle diagram supplied from the following link: The educator may decide to to laminate these diagrams for future use.
  • The question matrix from Module 4 may be re-used to guide the learner in writing questions.
  • Learners may also create their own diagrammatic representation of the Carbon Cycle.

Activity Four: Word Bank

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Teaching Objectives
  • To allow the continual assessment of learner understanding throughout the unit.
  • To increase learner proficiency in the location and assimilation of information.
  • To broaden learners' scientific vocabulary.

Ongoing Assessment and Summary

Assessment One: KWL Chart

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Teaching Objectives
  • To teach learners to write effective questions.
  • To teach learners to summarise information, i.e. to write in point form.
  • To assess synthesised knowledge gained by learners.

It is important for the learners to revisit the big question at the end of each session. How does this module contribute to answering the question? Encourage the learners to continually update their KWL tables.

How has this module contributed to the learners' knowledge and attitudes about deforestation? Ask the learners to pair up with a partner and brainstorm to elicit one piece of information or word from this Module that the other person is unfamiliar with.

Photo Gallery

A number of photographs are provided in the Photo Gallery as additional resources for the Module Summary. Alternatively these can be used at the educator's discretion at any other point in the Module.