Greenhouse Gases

Subject Area

Global Climate: Emissions

Age or Grade

Middle School

Estimated Length

45 minutes

Prerequisite knowledge/skills

An idea of what the greenhouse effect is, that the atmosphere provides a “blanket” that allows life on earth.

Description of New Content

Impacts and sources of Carbon Dioxide.

Many activities that students do every day (turning on lights, riding in a car, warming or cooling a building) result in emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


A basic understanding of how they can contribute

Empowerment of students, yes, they can make a difference.

Materials Needed

EPA Wheel Card Template and Activity:

Scissors, glue, and paper “brad” fasteners



Explain that nearly everything we do in our day-to-day lives is driven by fossil fuels. Cars directly use fossil fuels, and the idea of putting gas in to a car is likely to be a well-known task. But other things use fossil fuels too, electricity to power lights, computers, and water pumps often burn coal or natural gas to generate power. The water that comes out of your tap is likely driven by fossil fuels.


Class exercise creating “Global Warming Wheel Cards” and working on the Classroom Activity.


One of the easiest solutions is something every student can help with, reduce the amount of fossil fuels they use; this includes riding your bike instead of taking a car, turning off lights when not in a room, turning off the water when you brush your teeth, or adjusting your thermostat a few degrees. The idea is to convey hope and empowerment to the students.


Homework for Student Activity #1


EPA Climate Change Site:

EPA Climate Change Frequently Asked Questions:

EPA Greenhouse Gas Calculator

EPA Greenhouse Gas Calculator for Kids

Excel Version for offline use:

Other Activities:

What you and your community can do to reduce carbon dioxide

Home energy audit:


EPA Global Warming Wheel Card: