C6.2 Interpreting and interacting with Earth systems
Navigate to resources by choosing units within one of the unit groups shown below.
C6.2a interpret evidence for how it is thought the atmosphere was originally formed to include knowledge of how the composition of the atmosphere has changed over time
C6.2b describe how it is thought an oxygen-rich atmosphere developed over time
C6.2c describe the greenhouse effect in terms of the interaction of radiation with matter within the atmosphere
C6.2d evaluate the evidence for additional anthropogenic (human activity) causes of climate change and describe the uncertainties in the evidence base to include the correlation between change in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and the consumption of fossil fuels
C6.2e describe the potential effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate and how these effects may be mitigated to include consideration of scale, risk and environmental implications
C6.2f describe the major sources of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and particulates in the atmosphere and explain the problems caused by increased amounts of these substances
C6.2g describe the principal methods for increasing the availability of potable water in terms of the separation techniques used to include ease of treatment of waste, ground and salt water
In topics C6.2a – b learners will be looking into how the composition of the atmosphere has changed over time, from its first formation to the present day. This section, whilst largely stand-alone, will help with understanding of what processes can change the composition of the atmosphere.
It is important in this section for learners to be aware of the current composition of the atmosphere. It is very common for the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere to be over-estimated, and for learners to forget about the presence of Nitrogen, as it is not directly involved in any processes described in this section. In the same vein, it is very common for learners to expect the quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be much higher, given the effect it has on global warming.
In topics 6.2c-e learners will be looking at the evidence for anthropogenic activity on the composition of the atmosphere. When researching this section, care must be taken to ensure that information is from a credible source, and that it is at GCSE level, as learners can easily lapse into researching into degree (or higher) level work, and get very confused as to what they are looking at. It can be very valuable in this section to coach learners into being critical of any sources that they find, and need to cross-reference any information that describes information that claims to be factually correct.
In section 6.2f learners will be asked to research the problems caused by increased levels of gases such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and particulates in the atmosphere.
In section 6.2g learners will be looking at how water can be purified. This can be linked to climate change, and some of the causes of drought in some areas of the world, and how these problems can be resolved. As these issues can be very topical, it is always worth looking at recent news stories to make the topic more relevant.
It is important when describing caused issues such as acid rain that learners are aware of the scale of the issue. For example, learners often think of acid rain as a problem that will destroy buildings and animals completely, as acids are often over-exaggerated in how concentrated they are. Also, be very clear in the language used, problems such as damage to the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect are often muddled and mixed up.
This video clip show learners the different stages of evolution of the atmosphere - it's only 3 minutes long.
Learners can fill in the Learner resource 1 as they watch.
They may want to watch the clip several times.
This is a literacy/research task, where learners are encouraged to do a long-form letter including research they have done on water. Learners can use the table on the worksheet to help them tick off the required research.
The same sheet can then be used by the teacher to quickly tick off what has been included, and then provide immediate feedback on areas of their research that were of good quality, and any areas that could be improved on.
As this is a very topical issue, looking to the news for relevant clips can be very useful. In particular, the increasing numbers of storms and floods can be linked to global warming, and discussed.
As mentioned previously, there is sometime controversy regarding climate change, and there are often articles debating the accuracy of climate change scientists. This should be addressed, and an explanation as to the importance of looking at multiple sources for information discussed. Also the reasons for climate change denial can also be a good topic for discussion.