Students measure the flux of carbon dioxide from soil to the atmosphere using a lab CO2 probe and home-made flux chambers. The experiment can be designed to allow students to manipulate the experimental conditions, and explore the relationship between temperature and respiration, pointing to an important consequence of global climate change.

Weather Instruments

Students build a simple wind dial (anemometer) and explore how pine cones can tell us about humidity in the air.

Temperature Detectives

Students use basic thermometers to measure air temperatures under different conditions, draw conclusions about why air temperatures differ in these conditions, and apply what they’ve learned to strategies for staying cool during extreme heat events.

Thermal Expansion of Water

In this activity we calculate the coefficient of thermal expansion for tap water. Students will heat water in a long-necked glass bottle to explore the relationship between temperature and volume of water. Quantifying the initial volume, change in volume, and the initial and final temperatures allows students to calculate the coefficient of thermal expansion.

Sunlight Stored in Soil

Students measure a soil temperature profile to explore the effect of energy from the Sun on the shallow subsurface environment. Multiple temperature profiles allow students to analyze the daily change in energy that diffuses into the subsurface, and its differential impact near the surface and at depth.