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In this unit, students explore the environmental cycles that influence Earth's climate. They will investigate sources (anything that releases into the amtosphere) and sinks (anything that absorbs and holds from the water or air) of Carbon dioxide by performing an activity in which they use the chemical bromothymol blue (BTB) to detect its presence. In studying the nitrogen cycle, students will play the role of nitrogen atoms to gain an understanding of the varied pathways through the cycle and the relevance of nitrogen to living things. In the lesson on convection currents, students will observe convection in water due to temperature differences, describe the pattern of water movement, and relate this knowledge to oceanic currents and atmospheric circulation. In the lesson on Earth's energy cycle, they will experiment and observe how the color of materials that cover the Earth affects the amounts of sunlight our planet absorbs.
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