Climate Change / Global Warming Science Demonstrations, Activities and Labs

Avoiding Flawed, Problem Science Demonstrations -- Greenhouse Effect in a Bottle; Heating Carbon Dioxide vs. Air;
The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming are quite real.
Let's be sure the demonstrations we recommend to fellow educators are authentic, and get the science right!

Examples of Scientifically Faulty Demos -- Overview
Hands-on Science Avoiding Flawed Demos > Greenhouse Effect > Problem Examples > Overview

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Avoiding Flawed

Greenhouse Effect

Faulty Demos
Errors, Misconceptions
Testing, Lab Results
Scientifically Strong

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for Education &
Research in Science,
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Index and Introduction (Special section's home page)
Overview of Flawed Demo Examples
Menu of the individual examples: Analysis and testing of flawed demo designs
Being most heavily promoted: Need -- National Energy Education Development     Keystone Center
Prominent demos:     CLEAN     Bill Nye & Al Gore    On BBC TV    AMNH -- American Museum of Natural History
Many examples currently on-line:    Spin on That   PBS's Nova Capturing Carbon    Pico Tech     CIRES        
Flawed demos of this variety have been carefully reviewed, tested and analyzed by other reputable scientists: Lueddecke
Common errors with these relatively rare variations: Using other heat trapping (greenhouse) gases    Sunlight as the energy source variations

Overview: Examples of Flawed Demos it is Recommended that Science Educators Avoid**

Open Container Versions

PET Plastic Container Versions

Glass Container Versions

National Energy Education Development
Developed by energy industry sponsored programs;
aquarium & science museum staff paid to present.
Sponsors of above design include: BP, Chevron,
Halliburton Foundation, KBR, Shell
Society of Petroleum Engineers

Flawed Design, Mistaken Assumptions
Well Documented in 2010 paper

A noble & honest attempt to design a valid
demo, making details available for peer review.
Colleagues did discover descrepancies,
which were published on-line.
Papers have been available for demo
developers and promoters to study.
In science, we learn from this process,
correcting misconceptions and falsehoods.
Unfortunately, in contrast to this example,
peer review and public feedback has been
essentially absent in many other programs.
Major sponsors often are the ones to
determine which educational materials
should to be used, and which should not.
Hungry for funding, education directors
rarely challenge directives from above.

Keystone Center
Climate Science Investigations.
Too Cool for School -- The Greenhouse Experiment
Professional development workshops at conferences.
Above: promoted at
California Science Teachers Association conference.

Sponsors include: BP, Chevron Texaco,
General Electric, & American Petroleum Institute.

Spin on That
Climate science denial websites are expressing
great pleasure that these demos
are being advanced.
Using demos to "debunk AGW."

Some United States government programs
have also chosen to promote variations.

Bill Nye & Al Gore's
Climate Change 101 demo

American Museum of Natural History

With climate scientists being discouraged from acting
as advisors for public education programs,
and punished if they do,
while sound demos are discouraged,
unvetted teaching tools have spread.
Example of on-line videos produced
by outreach programs.

Pliable Plastic Container Versions
(e.g. plastic bags)

PET Plastic Container Versions

Other variations, which remain stuck
making the same basic errors.

PBS's NOVA -- Capturing Carbon

Pico Tech

On BBC Television
Covered in television news & science stories.
One of the reasons these webpages are being published is
to proactively encourage programs with integrity to make
corrections in the menu of science demos they are
promoting. It is possible to avoid this becoming the
subject of an international media scandal.

Using other heat trapping gases
Following the basic design of one of the
demos on this page,
only using other greenhouse gases,
such as methane or chlorohydrocarbons
instead of carbon dioxide.

Sunlight as the energy source variations

Introduction and Index
>>  Faulty demonstrations being heavily promoted -- over a dozen examples <<
Errors and misconceptions commonly found in flawed demonstrations
Testing the demos, mistakes revealed -- lab & field results from scientists and hundreds of students & teachers

Scientifically strong demonstrations engaging millions. Powerful, fun, dramatic, unforgettable.
Resources & Further Background
Encouraging rebuttal: welcoming sponsor-promoters to defend if demos are scientifically valid.
Testing the evidence for everyone to see, experience for themselves -- that's what has made science demonstrations so very powerful in history

Acknowledgements, Thank You's            Contact

2011 Climate Education Specialists, since 1999
We are a team of teachers, docents, scientists, engineers, techs, artists, students and parents providing
pro bono services for thousands of climate education programs worldwide. While primarily based at science museums
and the University of California, we work with hundreds of schools, programs and science institutions around the world
to strengthen the climate education community.  If we should be working with you too, let us know.

For over ten years: we have been designing, developing and presenting hands-on science demonstrations for 100,000's of participants.
Sharing experiences, mutual learning with science education programs worldwide..
If you are part of designing, teaching, presenting and/or supporting sound science hands-on demonstrations on climate change, perhaps we should be working together.