This activity has been adapted from resources created for the Space Academy Applied Sciences KS3 masterclass. In this activity students investigate the CO2 concentration of three different samples and try to identify their source. The context of the experiment can be linked to either planetary/exoplanetary atmospheres, or to climate change.
I developed this theoretical activity based on KS4-5 chemistry, physics and maths for delivery on my Mars in a Box workshop – a Mars-related extension to the Solar System in a Box workshop.
In this activity students calculate the mass of the Earth and Mars atmosphere from first principles and go on to calculate the height of the Martian atmosphere. The thickness of the Martian atmosphere is one of the reasons why it’s surface is scarred by numerous impact craters. Earth’s atmosphere is very thick, in excess of 700 km. It protects life on the surface from impact events and harmful radiation. Unlike the Earth, the Mars atmosphere it is too thin to ablate or destroy incoming asteroids and meteoroids.
This activity was developed with funding from a UKSA Space for All Grant 2012/2013
The following experiments and demos investigate the effect of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in
i) our atmosphere
In this demonstration, the basics of the electromagnetic spectrum are first covered followed by a demonstration of the thermal infra red. The final demo shows the effect that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide has on our atmosphere as it absorbs thermal infra red radiation.
Download the carbon dioxide atmosphere demonstration instructions
Download accompanying images for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere demo
ii) our oceans
Under supervision, students (or the public) can conduct this experiment on ocean acidification.
Download instructions for the ocean acidification experiment.
Download accompanying images for ocean acidification experiment.