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Scientists say the planet is warming because of human activities, namely the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere when burning fossil fuels. But, how do we know? How do scientists know? Students are presented with the following questions: 1) What makes a greenhouse gas a greenhouse gas? 2) Is carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas? [Instructor: How do we know?] 3) Is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increasing? How do we know? 4) Is carbon dioxide [in the atmosphere] increasing because of human activities? [Instructor: How do we know?] ---- Discussion of results and prediction of what students expect will happen to global average temperature... 5) Is global average temperature increasing? How do we know? Separate groups of students research just one question each on the internet and submit a brief summary to the instructor. The instructor and class go over results for just the first four questions. The instructor addresses "How do we know" for questions 2 and 4. Then, students are asked what they think will happen to global average temperature based on results of the first four questions (i.e. make an hypothesis). Finally, the results from the last group are presented and students are asked to discuss how observed global temperature changes compare with their hypothesis.
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