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Food and Climate Change – How can we feed a growing world population without increasing global warming?

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn how food production results in the release of three greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). Students analyze carbon and nitrogen cycles to understand how agriculture results in increased CO2 and N2O in the atmosphere.

Students interpret data concerning the very different amounts of greenhouse gases released during the production of various types of food; they apply concepts related to trophic pyramids and learn about CH4 release by ruminants.

Finally, students propose, research, and evaluate strategies to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that will be released during future production of food for the world’s growing population.

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in online instruction and distance learning. The Teacher Notes, available in the last two attached files, provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

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