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Investigation 10: Weather and Climate

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Microhabitat in a Bottle

Performance Assessment

In this lab experience, students carry out an investigation to create a balanced microhabitat. Students gain a better understanding of how our planet supports life due to complex interactions between various cycles and a delicate balance between the various biotic and abiotic factors that inhabit it.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Aquarium gravel, 2.3 kg
Grass seed, bag, 2
Soil, 8 lb bag
Screens, nylon, 4 in. diameter, 10
Wood skewers, bag of 100
Non-Consumable:
Bottles, 1 liter, 10
Caps, 15
Additional Materials Required
Funnel, Utility, Polyethylene, 2¾", 10

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Feedback and Climate Change

In this lab experience, students carry out an investigation to observe the connection between the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the reduction in both sea ice and glacial ice. Using a direct heat source, students compare the amount of ice that is melted as temperature increases in an experimental bottle and a control bottle. An antacid effervescent tablet is added to the experimental bottle to release additional carbon dioxide in the experimental bottle. By completing this investigation students gain a better understanding of the composition of Earth’s atmosphere and how gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor trap some of the radiation emitted by Earth. Students will see firsthand the effects of additional greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Antacid effervescent tablets, 30
Clay, ¼ lb stick, 2
Plastic bottle, 1 L, 10
Additional Materials Required
Cylinder, Borosilicate Glass, 100 mL, 10
Flinn Digital Thermometer, 20
Flinn Scientific Electronic Balance, 300 x 0.1-g, 10
Infrared Lamp and Reflector, 10
Ruler, Metric, Clear, 30 cm, 10

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Energy in the Atmosphere

In this lab experience, students come to understand why winds exhibit the movement patterns they do. For example, students see that winds, or collections of gaseous particles, move faster when they are heated and migrate from high pressure areas to low pressure areas. They use their observations to explain natural phenomena such as sea breezes.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Ammonium hydroxide, concentrated 14.7 M, 100 mL
Hydrochloric acid, concentrated, 12.1 M, 30 mL
Phenolphthalein solution, 1%, 100 mL
Thymol blue solution, 0.04%, 100 mL
Cotton balls, pkg/300
Non-Consumable:
Glass diffusion tubes, 14-mm wide by 30-cm long, 20
Medicine droppers, glass, 24
Rubber stoppers, size 00, 90
Additional Materials Required
Beral Pipets, Graduated, Pkg. of 20, 1
Bottles, Washing, Polyethylene, 250 mL, 10
Bunsen Burner, Adjustable, Natural Gas, 10
Forceps, 10
Ring Support, with Rod Clamp, 4", 20
Support Stand, 6" x 9", 20

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Albedo and Composition of Earth's Surface

In this lab experience, students carry out an investigation to determine how albedo and specific heat influence how fast temperature change occurs in a substance by measuring the temperature change in several samples placed under a heat lamp. By completing this investigation, students gain a better understanding of how the angle at which the Sun’s rays strike Earth, albedo and the composition of surface materials are all factors that contribute to the temperature variations observed on Earth.

Materials Included in Kit

Non-Consumable:
Sand, black, 1 kg
Sand, white, 1 kg
Soil, black, 3.6 kg
Petri dishes, 40
Additional Materials Required
Infrared Lamp and Reflector, 10
Metal-backed Thermometer, Celsius/Fahrenheit, 40

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Design a Green Roof

Engineering Design Challenge

In this lab experience, students are challenged to design a roof that absorbs less of the Sun’s energy, reducing air temperature in a city. Students determine through testing that a green roof reduces internal temperature change in a building compared to a control. Green roofs are another method to combat the urban heat island effect.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Alfalfa seed, 1 oz package
Barley seed, 1 oz package
Construction paper, black, 20 half sheets
Foam pieces, 8 in. x 8 in., 20
Foam pieces, 8 in. x 9 in., 20
Grass seed, 4 oz package
Mustard seed, 1 oz package
Oat seed, 1 oz package
Plastic containers, 10
Soil, 3.6 kg bag, 2
Toothpicks, box of 250
Additional Materials Required
Flinn Digital Thermometer, 10
Infrared Lamp and Reflector, 10

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How Melting Ice Affects Sea Level

In this lab experience, students carry out an investigation to determine how melting sea ice and melting glaciers affect sea level. They determine the impact by comparing the results of two experimental setups. The energy required to melt ice will be determined using a calorimeter, and its value will be close to the expected 334 J/g. Changes in temperature of water in a calorimeter will be used to determine the amount of heat absorbed by melting ice cubes. In the guided, open, and advanced versions the cooling curve of water will be used to determine that the freezing point of water is approximately 0 °C. In the open and advanced versions, students will observe that the dissolution of sodium chloride will lower the freezing temperature of water.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Clay, assorted colors, 20 sticks
Plastic containers, 20
Additional Materials Required
Infrared Lamp and Reflector, 10

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Observe Air Pollution

In this lab experience, students carry out an investigation to determine how much particulate material is in the air. They also observe the effects pollution can have on water and building materials. After completing this investigation students will gain a better understanding of how human activity has added other substances into the atmosphere, creating an imbalance and causing the quality of air to degrade.

Materials Included in Kit

Consumable:
Bromthymol blue indicator solution, 0.04%, 100 mL
Hydrochloric acid solution, “simulated acid rain solution”, 1 M, 500 mL
Marble chips (limestone), CaCO3, 60 g
Acid rain test strips, 15
Adhesive labels, sheet of 80
Matches, box of 32, 5
Pipets, 40
Non-Consumable:
Magnifying glasses, 10
Microscope slides, plastic, package of 25
Sampling containers, 10
Syringes, 20 mL, package of 10
Tubing, plastic, ⅛”, 3 ft
Additional Materials Required
Ruler, Metric, Clear, 30 cm, 10