Students investigate how much greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) their family releases into the atmosphere each year and relate it to climate change. They use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Personal Emissions Calculator to estimate the pounds of greenhouse gases emitted by each student’s family. Students use the calculator to examine potential ways to reduce greenhouse emissions. They calculate the average emissions for their class and answer further questions about reducing the emissions. Finally, they are asked to create a brochure to inform others about greenhouse emissions and answer reflection questions.
Your Family’s Carbon Footprint follows a modified 5E lesson plan format with sections entitled Engage, Explore and Explain, Extend Your Thinking, Apply What You Have Learned, and Reflection on What You Have Learned. The activity should take at least two 45-minute class periods, depending upon the creation of a brochure. Computer access is necessary for part of the lesson.
The teacher must open separate windows for the teacher guide and the activity at http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/climate/climate-change/toolkit-fossil-fuels.php. Scroll down to locate “Your Family’s Carbon Footprint.”