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Upper El (3/1-5): Greenhouse Effect

A week in the sunshine with Upper El was amazing. We wrote fanfiction stories this week, and our unit on radiant energy came to a close with a discussion on radiant energy's influence on our lives.

On Monday, we learned what fanfiction is and what it isn't. Rather, what we can do with fanfiction and what we can't do. We started with a little improv role play where Mr. Derek played the role of J.K. Rowling, and one of our students received a phone call from their favorite author.

It was a silly and fun way to introduce what fanfiction is all about. Writing new stories, new plots, but using the characters and world of our favorite stories.

Our lessons on radiant energy brought us through following how that energy, coming from the Sun, is converted to other forms of energy to sustain life. Like, chemical energy and thermal energy.

Wednesday, we began talking about the greenhouse effect and how it connects to radiant energy, our next unit on thermal energy, and our next project—solar ovens. We had a great discussion.

Yet, we returned to the greenhouse effect on Thursday, as Mr. Derek wanted to make sure specific details were clear. We started by recounting our previous knowledge of how light can be absorbed, reflected, or pass through matter. Then, we followed beams of light from the Sun and how they interact with our atmosphere, next, how they interact with our Earth, and then back to our atmosphere again.

Students saw the loop of the greenhouse effect, and then we discussed the good and bad. Why do we absolutely need the greenhouse effect? And, why do we also need to keep an eye on what is called a "runaway" greenhouse effect? Also, we saw how we could use this effect to our benefit with our solar ovens.

Next week we'll start on our solar ovens and begin our unit on thermal energy.

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