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Prior to assigning this activity in lecture, students gather information about their personal energy consumption so that they can calculate their personal carbon footprint. Specifically they need to determine the gas mileage of their vehicle, the average number of miles they drive in a month, and bring to class an electric bill and a natural gas bill from their apartment. I provide the appropriate information for students living in dorms. Their task during the class period is to assemble this information and calculate how much carbon their activities are responsible for generating. Once this portion of the assignment is complete, they investigate options for reducing their carbon emissions and the costs of those options. The pros and cons of carbon-reduction strategies form the basis for the class discussion. Lastly, students are asked to brain storm a list of potential carbon sources that are not included in this simple exercise, such as the carbon required to make the things we buy (computers, edible dinosaurs, q-tips, etc.).
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