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Dream Vacation

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What is the greenhouse gas “cost” of your dream vacation?

Susan E. Powers, PhD, PE, Clarkson University, Potsdam NY

May 2011

Details

Type:  Activity

Length:  2 - 45 minute class periods

Content Area/Course: Environmental science, Geography

Targeted Grade Level:  11-12 (could be adapted to younger students if more of the MS Excel spreadsheet equations were completed by the teacher and provided to the students)

Prerequisite Knowledge: Familiarity with concepts of greenhouse gas emissions, fuels as a source of GHG emissions, and global warming potentials

Prerequisite Skills: Basic internet and MS Excel skills

Technology/web resources: MS Excel, Internet Access, Google Earth

Thinking skill development: Comprehension, evaluation

NASA resources used:  none as written, could add satellite photos (beyond what is in Google earth) (http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/ )

Description

Students plan travel itinerary for a dream vacation and explore the consequences and “cost” of the travel in terms of their greenhouse gas emissions.  Basic greenhouse gas inventory concepts and calculations are included: emission factors, fuel economy, and global warming potentials.  Options include the use of Google Earth to integrate global geography concepts and knowledge.