Greenhouse The Greenhouse Investigation
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Students will analyze data collected by experimenting with the greenhouse effect and report their findings.
This investigation is designed to be completed over the course of several weeks.


Use mathematics to analyze aspects of the greenhouse effect and report your findings.
Mathematical Overview and NCTM Standards:
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions
  • Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another
  • Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them
  • Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data
  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving
Materials Needed:
  • lamp with a 100-watt bulb
  • stopwatch
  • thermometer
  • plastic zipper-style sandwich bag
  • ruler
  • graph paper
  • folder or notebook
In this Investigation, you will use mathematics to analyze aspects of the greenhouse effect and report your findings.  As a scientist commissioned to explore the greenhouse effect, you will conduct two experiments.  The first experiment is a control experiment that will be used to compare data with the second experiment, called the greenhouse experiment.  Both experiments will involve temperature as a function of distance.
  • Separate the class into groups of four.
    • Recorder collect data
    • Measurer sets and measure the distances between the lamp and the thermometer.
    • Timer times different aspects of the activity and turns the lamp on and off at the appropriate times.
    • Weather person reports temperature reading to the recorder and makes sure that them thermometer is adequately prepared for each aspect of the activity.
  • Conduct a control experiment and a greenhouse experiment.
  • Record data using a spreadsheet and use graphing tools to model the data.
  • Analyze and report this data.  Each member should turn in his or her respective equipment and their own folder.
Introduction:  Unit Overview
Begin:  Beginning the Investigation
Page 2:  Comparing Data
Page 3:  Working with Integers & Comparing Data
Page 4:  Charts and Graphs
Page 5:  Working with Formulas
End:  Closing the Investigation
Quiz:  Greenhouse Investigation Quiz

Original Investigation Found in Glencoe/McGrawAlgebra 1   Copyright © June 2000
used with permission
  adapted by Susan Boone  Saint Agnes Academy,  Houston, TX
GirlTECH '95 Participant,   Master Teacher, '96, '97, '99, & 2000

These pages were developed through GirlTECH , a teacher-training program sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEEE) with support from the National Science Foundation through EOT-PACI.