Day 4: The Greenhouse Effect

Instructions (Part I): Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, are transparent to much of the incoming sunlight but not to the infrared from the warmed surface of Earth. These gases play a major role in determining average global surface temperatures. When Earth emits the same amount of energy as it absorbs, its average temperature remains stable. Carefully view the below video to learn more about this process. 

Instructions (Part II): To better understand the Greenhouse Effect, click here to interact with an online simulation. Follow the instructions provided at this link. You will also receive a hard copy to follow along with.

Instructions (Part III): Now that you understand the greenhouse effect, your task is to demonstrate that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas using the materials provided. Work with your team to devise a procedure and method for collecting data. You might find it useful to watch this video to help develop your approach. Hint: Carbon dioxide is released when Alka-Seltzer tablets react with water. 



  • Thermometer x 2 
  • Glass Jar x 2 
  • Alka-Seltzer Tablets 
  • Water 
  • Lamp (or Sun depending on weather) 

Instructions (Part IV): Carefully carry out your experiment and record all necessary data. Once completed, take a photo of your entire lab setup and upload it using the link below. Enter your first name in the “Subject” field, and summarize your findings in the “Write something…” area. A QR code is provided for easy upload.

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