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Oceans play a significant role in determining and moderating the effects of energy imbalances. Students will begin this lesson by working with temperature data to reinforce the importance of protocols, practice computing statistical measures of data... (View More) and interpreting their significance. The lesson continues with investigations into daily and annual energy cycles. Using a sea surface environment visualizer, students then identify patterns of sea surface current and temperature data. Note that this is lesson five of five on the Ocean Motion website. Each lesson investigates ocean surface circulation using satellite and model data and can be done independently. See Related URL's for links to the Ocean Motion Website that provide science background information, data resources, teacher material, student guides and a lesson matrix. (View Less)

In this activity, students build a simple computer model to determine the black body surface temperature of planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Experiments altering the luminosity and... (View More) distance to the light source will allow students to determine the energy reaching the object and its black body temperature. The activity builds on student outcomes from activity A, "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship." It also supports inquiry into a real-world problem, the effect of urban heat islands and deforestation on climate. Includes a teacher's guide, student worksheets, and an Excel tutorial. This is Activity B of module 3, titled "Using Mathematic Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability," of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a... (View More) spreadsheet-based radiation balance model, GEEBITT. They validate their results against published the published albedo value of the Earth, and conduct similar comparisons Mercury, Venus and Mars. The resource includes an Excel spreadsheet tutorial, an investigation, student data sheets and a teacher's guide. Students apply their understanding to the real life problem of urban heat islands and deforestation. The activity links builds on student outcomes from activities A and B: "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship," and "Making a Simple Mathematical Model." This is Activity C in module 3, Using Mathematical Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability, of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

# Modeling Hot and Cold Planets: Activity C Approximating the Average Surface Temperature of the Earth

In this activity, students explore the importance of adequate sampling strategies when conducting a scientific investigation. They are tasked with determining the average temperature of the Earth, using data sets easily found on the Internet, and... (View More) determine the kind and size of sample necessary to calculate a representative average. The resource includes a student data sheet and an authentic assessment for the module, where students discuss the establishment of a habitation site on Mars. This is Activity C in module 2, titled "Modeling Hot and Cold Planets," of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

In this activity, student teams learn about research design and design a controlled experiment exploring the relationship between a hypothetical planet, an energy source, and distance. They analyze the data and derive an equation to describe the... (View More) observations. Includes student data sheets, a teacher's guide, and a tutorial on how to use the spreadsheet program Excel. This is Activity A in module 3, titled "Using Mathematic Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability," of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

In this activity, student teams create a knowledge map of the essential characteristics or factors of a planet with a habitable climate, identifying range of inputs, outputs and variables of a planetary environmental system. Identified... (View More) characteristics are compared to extreme environments on Earth, such as the Antarctic or the Sahara desert, and are used to consider the real life challenge of searching for life in extreme environments. The resource includes a student data sheet, questions, teacher's guide and scoring rubric. This is Activity B of two activities in the first module, titled "Temperature variations and habitability," of the resource,