Connecting Global Climate Change with Engineering

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What is the difference between a scientist and an engineer? The difference lies in the product that comes at the end of the intellectual journey. Whereas scientific inquiry is concerned with what is, engineering design is focused on what can be. Both start by identifying an interesting problem: scientists may produce new knowledge at the end of their quest; engineers strive to build new solutions.

Learn more about engineering and what it entails by watching "Ask an Engineer" from PBS LearningMedia™. As you watch, think about what questions your students might have for an engineer.

Climate change has been identified as one of "Engineering's Grand Challenges". Watch Calestous Juma, member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), talk about the problem of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As you watch, think about why engineers might be able to resolve this issue.

Environmental engineers are hard at work figuring out how to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and store it elsewhere in the Earth system where it will not contribute to greenhouse gas concentrations and global warming. Some places being considered for this storage are forests, oceans, soils, and underground. Mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineers are exploring renewable sources of energy, as well as more energy efficient designs for buildings, vehicles, and appliances.

In the next section, you will learn about and work through the engineering design process as you think about ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store the carbon in forms where it will not contribute to global warming.

Global Climate Change Modules

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PBS TeacherLine, the premier provider of online professional development services for PreK-12 educators, has the goal of making professional development accessible, affordable and engaging for teachers. Our hope is that our courses can help inspire and guide STEM learning at every age and in every discipline.

Integrate science and mathematics learning with technology and the engineering design process to investigate solutions to real-world problems with our STEM courses.

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