Examine the potential impacts of the warming of the atmosphere

  1. Discuss greenhouse gases with students and the potential impact they could have on our climate. In particular, discuss rising CO2 levels and what produces the CO2 that is increasing in our atmosphere (factories and cars)
  2. Select two identical clear plastic containers and place the same amount of rocks and sand inside the containers along with equal amounts of water and ice.
  3. Place one thermometer in each container (see figure). One container will depict the greenhouse effect while the other is the control.
  4. Place both containers in direct sunlight. Cover one container with plastic-wrap completely to demonstrate the greenhouse effect. The other container will remain uncovered to serve as the control.
  5. Have students make a chart to record their observations. On the chart include temperature, shape of the ice, and any other observations.
  6. Once the students have examined the potential effects of greenhouse gases, move on to the activity on sea level rise.


  • two clear containers
  • plastic wrap
  • rocks
  • sand
  • thermometers
  • ice