Climate Literacy: What Is The Greenhouse Effect?

Climate Literacy: What Is The Greenhouse Effect?

Lesson 2 of 5 in this unit

  • Cool+
  • Secondary
  • Year 10
  • Science
  • Earth and Space
  • Environmental
  • Climate Change
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students will investigate the greenhouse effect. They will explore the role of greenhouse gases in the greenhouse effect and create a model that compares the natural and enhanced greenhouse effects. 

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand that the greenhouse effect is naturally occurring
  • know that an increase in greenhouse gases has been amplifying the greenhouse effect.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • explain the role of rising greenhouse gases in the enhanced greenhouse effect.
  • create a model that demonstrates how the natural greenhouse effects differs from the enhanced greenhouse effect

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Climate Change Factsheet
Talking About Climate Change Factsheet

Lesson details


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • creative thinking
  • critical thinking
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • problem solving

Curriculum Mapping

Australian Curriculum (v9.0) content description:

Year 10 Science: 

  • Use models of energy flow between the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere to explain patterns of global climate change (AC9S10U04)
  • Write and create texts to communicate ideas, findings and arguments effectively for identified purposes and audiences, including selection of appropriate content, language and text features, using digital tools as appropriate (AC9S10I08)

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-ENV-01

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

  • Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

Resources Required

  • Climate Change fact sheet - optional
  • Create a mini greenhouse in a plastic bottle, e.g. cut off the top of the bottle, add in soil and a small plant (making sure it doesn’t reach over the top of the bottle opening), water the plant and cover the bottle opening with some plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band.
  • Device capable of sharing a YouTube video
  • Material for making 3D models - could include craft materials, recyclables (such as small cardboard boxes, milk cartons and plastic bottles and tubs), or modelling clay OR devices capable of creating an animation
  • Student Worksheet - one for each student
  • Teacher support - Talking About Climate Change fact sheet.

Resources can be found in the Lesson Plan above.

Additional Info

These lessons draw on concepts from the Carbon Almanac.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium - oversee class discussions and lead students in model making. 

Related Professional Learning

How To Teach Sustainability With Hope 

Quick Summary: This course will help you find out how to bring hope to challenging, upsetting or worrying topics around sustainability.

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