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Human Energy Systems | Activity 6.1

Activity 6.1: Making Predictions About The Future of Earth’s Systems (30 min)

Students use the long-term trends in the Keeling Curve and Arctic Sea Ice graphs to make predictions about the future.

Resources Provided


Prepare a computer with a projector to display the PPT.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.

Show slide 2 of the 6.1 Making Predictions About Future Earth Systems PPT.


Use the students’ ideas in the class discussion to see if they see the difference between short-term and long-term variation and their relationship to predictable and unpredictable projections about the future. At the end of this activity, you want the students to understand why using short-term data that includes a lot of random short-term variation (sea ice extent, sea level, and global temperatures) is not very useful for making precise predictions about specific years in the future, but that the longer-term trends are very predictable.


Allow students to visit the following websites to discuss how scientists use patterns in data to make predictions about the future: