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What is Causing Global Warming?




7, 8, 9, 10  

Title: What is Causing Global Warming?


Grade/Subject Level: 7 – 10


Overview:     Help students identify and understand the influencing factors of global warming, sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and the different fossil fuels that contribute to the global climate.


Purpose:       Engage students using a variety of media outlets to analyze and evaluate the relationship between CO2 and global warming. Help students understand the effect of greenhouse gas on the environment and how natural and industrial carbon dioxide circulate through atmospheric systems.


Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will identify the factors that have influenced global climate in the past.
  • Students will review the greenhouse effect and its influence on climate, identify major greenhouse gases and their atmospheric percentages, and understand why carbon dioxide is considered the greenhouse gas most responsible for contemporary global warming.
  • Students will identify natural and industrial sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide and understand the ways in which it cycles through systems.
  • Students will define and identify different types of fossil fuels, industrial sources of carbon dioxide and changes in carbon dioxide concentrations since the industry era.
  • Students will understand the correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and average global temperature.
  • Students will analyze and evaluate conflicting information about CO2 and global warming.
  • Students will learn strategies for evaluating scientific claims made in the media.



                        Atmosphere, sun cycles, volcanism, greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs, nitrous oxides and sulfur oxides, carbon cycle, carbon sink, carbon sequestration, fossil fuels, industrialization, forcing agent


Materials Needed:

CO2: They Call it Pollution, We Call It Life, 1min: Warming/Lesson 4/L4 They Call it

The Great Global Warming Swindle, 30 sec: Warming/Lesson 4/L4 Great Global Swindle

An Inconvenient Truth, 5 min: Warming/Lesson 4/L4 Inconvenient



90 min


Lesson Procedures:

  1. Introduce the activities by using prompts from the Teacher Guide.
  2. Activity 1: Show the 1 min video commercial, CO2: They Call it Pollution, We Call it Life. Lead the decoding of the video using the prompts in the Teacher Guide.
  3. Activity 2: Present the PowerPoint slide show, What is Causing Global Warming? Use the Teacher Guide to facilitate discussion.
  4. Activity 3: Distribute the Student Worksheets and show the 30 sec video excerpt from The Great Global Warming Swindle.
  5. Lead the decoding of the video using the prompts in the Teacher Guide.
  6. Show the 5 min video excerpt from An Inconvenient Truth.
  7. Lead the decoding of the video using the prompts in the Teacher Guide.
  8. Students complete the Student Worksheet: Lesson Review. Review the worksheet using the suggested answers in the Teacher Guide.
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