Earth and Atmosphere
This list covers a wide range of connected topics linked to environmental aspects of chemistry at KS4.
The resources cover the composition and evolution of the Earth's atmosphere since the Earth was formed, and present day atmospheric pollution such as acid rain and particulates (POMs or particulate organic matter). The source of such pollutants in the combustion of fossil fuels, and the potential consequences to the environment and to health are also included here.
Students need to understand the greenhouse effect and its consequences in terms of global warming and climate change. Students often confuse the greenhouse effect and global warming and assume they are the same thing. Methods of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are also included here.
These resources also look at how drinking water is obtained from surface and ground water, including filtration to remove particles and sterilisation to kill microorganisms, desalination and the treatment of waste water and sewage
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Links and Resources
This resource looks at one possible solution to releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned. The carbon dioxide is captured and pumped into oil fields where is slowly fossilises and also provides the pressure to force oil reserves to the surface. The resource includes an explanatory information sheet on this relatively new technology.
This resource focuses on the issue of acid rain and its effects on our society and our environment. Students explore the local and regional impacts of acid rain. As they work though the topic they find out about the science of acid rain and explore the impacts of acid rain locally, nationally and globally. The topic can help them to distinguish between matters of principle and matters of fact.
This resource explored a number of the effects of acid rain not limited to the damage caused to statues and buildings made predominantly of limestone or marble. It is worthwhile for the images it contains although it is not recent and so the hyperlinks to external additional material are no longer active.
I this activity students consider the causes of climate change and the effects of their own actions. They are prompted to think about and discuss possible actions to tackle the problem. The materials contain teacher guidance, student activity sheets and information on the issues around climate change which is introduced and discussed within the context of a game that should engage students in actively learning about this important issue.
This 15 minute video looks at the phenomenon of climate change and links this to the greenhouse effect and global warming. The activities on humans in this process are discussed as well as the causes of natural cycling of the global climate due to factors outside our control. This is a balanced treatment of climate change that places anthropogenic (human) causes of global warming via greenhouse gas emissions in the wider context of natural variations in the Earth's climate.
This video looks at the way that changes in the climate of the Earth are impacting on the environment. Video footage is shown from a number actual environments that are being profoundly affected by climate change. The video makes the point that change is not inevitable and challenges students to consider potential solutions to the current problem.
This resource looks at drinking (potable) water. It comprises a set of student activity sheets and information sheets which look at water sources, the amount of water used, the purity of water and the effects of water on health. Teachers' notes are included outlining the resource content and suggesting how it may be used.
This comprehensive resource looks at the challenges faced in obtaining clean drinking water in the developing world. Ther is a presentation with embedded questions that challenge students to think about the issues surrounding the supply of drinking water and its use (or over use in developed countries). A detailed presenter pack is included which gives background to the activity, and a suggested approach including timings. The activity should be possible in an average double lesson.
The arid climate of southern California is making drinking water a precious resource with supplies dwindling. This five minute video looks at how a company solves two problems in one go. That of water shortage and sewage treatment by converting sewage to drinking water. The complex technical process which is carried out in three stages is simply explained in a way that students can easily understand. A novel and intriguing solution to a double problem.
This is a good video to highlight the difference between weather and climate, as well as showing an exciting career with the Met Office. The clip illustrates how skills in science, mathematics and computer programming are applied, and would leave students thinking about the variety of careers that studying science can lead to.
The first part of this podcast explains carbon capture as a method of reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
It could be used as part of a circus of information looking at global warming and what we can do to reduce carbon dioxide levels. Students could visit each station around the room and become 'experts' on one aspect, reporting back to their group.
Alternatively it could be used as a whole class activity to develop listening skills. This resource from the Science Enhancement Programme is useful for planning the listening so that meaningful learning takes place.