A Climate Clock for San Jose, CA

Don Callejon sixth grade

The Organograph team visited the sixth grade class at Don Callejon school on March 28, 2011.


The amazing students of Dana Brown’s 6th grade science class had an introductory lesson on climate change.  Artists and scientists Chico MacMurtrie, Geo Homsy, and Bill Washabaugh taught the class about the past, present and future of climate change on earth and how it is happening.

We learned about carbon dioxide and how this gas controls temperature on the planet through the green house effect.  We learned about the earth’s carbon cycle, and how the flows of carbon between the atmosphere (air) and biosphere (plants and animals) is in constant exchange.  We also learned how human’s are changing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by taking fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) out of the ground and burning them, adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The class demonstrated the earth’s actual carbon cycle with about 6000 colored marbles as a scale model system.   The students ran the carbon cycle simulation from 1910 – 2050 in 20 year steps to understand how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been changing over time, and what we can expect in the future.  Student scientists took air samples every 20 years to look at how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has changed over time.   Another group of student scientist charted several key statistics that are driving climate change including the number of people on the planet, the number of cars, the number of airplane passengers, and the amount of global temperature change.

After the student completed the carbon cycle simulation, they had a chance to reflect on what is causing this change in the atmosphere, how it is happening, what the effects are, and how we can change our behavior to be better stewards for future generations of human, plants, and animals on the earth.


A very big thank you to:

the students of Don Callejon 6th grade science class and their fantastic teacher Dana Brown

Lisa Ellsworth and Sandy Derby of the Children’s Discovery Museum

Luise Kaunert and Aki Kimoto for preparing the course work, materials, lessons, and helping to teach the class

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