About the Australian Greenhouse Calculator

Is the climate changing up as a result of human activity? The overwhelming balance of international scientific opinion is that the impact of what is called 'enhanced greenhouse effect' is likely increase global average temperatures leading to changing weather patterns, and a subsequent rise in sea level. If these changes occur, many millions of people across the globe will be adversely affected. Certainly Australians will not be immune from these changes and the quality of life of future generations might be severely reduced.

The calculator and associated resources address these concerns and aim to encourage students to:

  • explore how their family's lifestyle and their own lifestyle contributes to the greenhouse problem as well as to its resolution
  • understand the relationships between home energy use and climate change
  • learn about the scientific ideas that help describe and explain the atmosphere, carbon dioxide levels, the carbon cycle and the enhanced greenhouse effect
  • analyse and evaluate data about the enhanced greenhouse effect and climate change
  • develop a concerned attitude towards the use of appliances, the purchase of new appliances, modes of transport and recycling
  • research and explore the links between use of domestic appliances and climate change
  • consider the ethics of living in a high consuming society and the possibilities of sustainable living.

This is the third version of the Australian Greenhouse Calculator and it has been enhanced to provide you with resources and information that are up-to-date and relevant.

The teacher materials

The educational materials have been designed to support students' experiences in using the calculator. There are a wide range of activities including surveys, modelling, problem solving, internet projects, Predict-Observe-Explain demonstrations, experiments and assignments.

The materials also link with four sets of animations that are divided into chapters. These chapters offer powerful vignettes that can be used in class to stimulate debate and interest. The four animations are:

The materials have been put in a sequence following the E5 instructional model, which assumes a constructivist approach to learning. Learners build or construct new ideas around their old ideas. The resources focus on different phases or aspects of learning and are presented using five Es: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. The aim is to help you to provide students with activities that build on prior knowledge and experience, help construct deeper meaning, and to enable you to continually assess their understanding of concepts.

Three types of resources are provided: Teacher ideas, student resources and rich tasks.

  • Teacher ideas offer suggestions for you to use in class.
  • Student activities can be used as is, or modified to suit the needs of students.
  • Rich tasks offer suggestions for activities that are more detailed than the student activities. These activities can form the basis of projects or actions within a differentiated curriculum.