Unit 1 Overview of Global Warming



1. Acknowledge the phenomena of global warming

2. Understand the problem of global warming

3. Understand the idea an ecological footprint is and how it relates to global warming.


Activity I: Global Warming is happening

We’ve all heard the issue of Global warming. The first impression of global warming left in our mind is that the earth is becoming warmer. Is that true? Do we feel that the summer is getting hotter and the winter is getting warmer? Can you give any other signs of global warming?

A warm-up short discussion is welcomed. After the discussion, the teacher sum up: A solid conclusion is always based on solid, detailed evidences investigated by scientific researches. Let us analyze scientific data before we make any conclusion.

1. Changes of global surface temperatures:

Instrumental Temperature Record.png

Show this bar graph to students and they will calculate what is the temperature difference between the start and the end of the 20th century. (increment of ~0.7 °C).

0.7 °C? Less than 1.0 °C, Isn’t that tiny? Could this be called global warming? Let’s look and study a second bar graph showing global temperature of most recent 1000 years.

Isn’t that tiny? Students will look a second bar graph showing global temperature of most recent 1000 years.

Let students find out that the first 900 years of last 1000 years, the temperature kept almost unchanged.

1000 Year Temperature Comparison.png

Let students find out that the first 900 years of last 1000 years, the temperature kept almost unchanged and the 0.7 °C happens in the last 100 years.

2. Such tiny change could cause dramatic geological changes: The Retreat of Glaciers:

Whitechuck glacier 1973.jpg

Whitechuck glacier 2006.jpg

The same place (taken in the Whitechuck Glacier in Glacier Peak Wilderness ) 1st was taken in 1973, and 2nd in 2006. Within 34 years, the branch of glacier retreated 1.9 km!

Activity II: Global Warming is a big Problem

We’ve seen that a tiny increase of temperature could cause dramatic geological changes. However, what else could this “invisible” global warming bring us? Good or Bad? Let’s watch a video first.

Video show


Discussion after the video

1. What are major reasons that scientists believe cause the global warming? Human Activities

2. Which year was the warmest year in measured history? 1998

3. What are severe problems the global warming could potentially bring to us?

Flood (sea level rising)/ Severe weather pattern change (more frequent hurricane)/Severe drought/Species extinction

Note: These issues will be discussed in the following units.

Activity III: Your Contributions to Global Warming

Now we know global warming could cause some real issues, which may threat our life in this planet. The majority of scientists have agreed that human activities is the major reason for global warming. What could our activity in daily life contribute to this?

Introduction of the concept of ecological footprint

The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems. It compares human demand with planet Earth's ecological capacity to regenerate.

Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle. For 2006, humanity's total ecological footprint was estimated at 1.4 planet Earths - in other words, humanity uses ecological services 1.4 times as fast as Earth can renew them.

Students will be asked to volunteer in this online to calculate their ecological footprints.



1. Go online to calculate your own ecological footprints with parents

2. A 200-word essay about your understanding of the Global Warming