Inquiry Unit (Term 2)

Topic - Man Made Global Warming - Fact or Fiction?

We will watch two videos (An Inconvenient Truth and The Great Global Warming Swindle) which give opposing views on this controversial topic.

Here is an outline of the inquiry. Remember you will be working in your groups for this work. Your final work (presentation) will be placed on this wiki space.


Global warming is a hotly debated issue. Some scientists and environmentalists believe we are on the verge of massive global climate change that will result in chaotic weather patterns and catastrophic droughts all caused by an increase in global average temperature. These experts support laws to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that humans produce in the hope that this will slow global warming. Others however, believe that global warming doesn't even exist. They say global warming is a naturally occurring phenomena. They say that while Earth currently is experiencing a warming trend, there is scientific evidence that human activities have little to do with it
Global warming is a hot topic today. With recent reports coming out regarding the state of our planet, the media and politicians nationwide have locked into "we are all going to die in a fireball of death" mode. However, global warming is a lot more complex than politicians and the media may tell you.
There are two issues at hand when the term "global warming" is thrown around. The planet is warming. This is a fact. We have been measuring surface temperatures of our planet for the last 200 years. In the past 30 years, the average temperatures on earth have been steadily increasing. The second issue is the more controversial one: Humans are the cause of global warming, through our pollution of the environment. Since the second industrial revolution in the late 19th century, humans have been pumping gases into the atmosphere. In the past 30 years, the earth has become warmer. But correlation does not mean causation. So is our putting gas into the atmosphere the cause of the warming that has occurred in recent years?

How do we know global warming is real? Who is responsible, and how can it be addressed?
What, if any, relationship exists between man-made CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperatures?.

Man Made Global Warming—Fact or Fiction?
Your task is to explore this complex issue. The task for the whole group is to outline what they think is meant by Global Warming. Once you've got some basic definitions and facts down and have explored the controversies surrounding this issue your group needs to decide if global warming/climate change is going to occur or is already occurring, by looking for evidence in data available to you. This step is your most critical and possibly the hardest one. Remember that experts who have devoted their lives to this topic disagree so you will have to look at the evidence and discuss things thoroughly with your group to understand what the evidence indicates.
Group Discussion
As a group, discuss the major issues your group needs to present as its point-of-view.
Even if you don’t all agree on how to proceed, you must reach a consensus on what and how to present to the class.

Your team must discuss both sides of the debate about global warming.

The big question you need to focus on is, what is causing Global Warming? Current beliefs have been based on the theory that Global Warming is caused solely by the green house effect from green house gasses. Since green house gases are directly linkable to levels of human activity and economic development, discussions made based on greenhouse gasses will have far reaching consequences on international politics, national economies and human welfare.
Recently some scientists have reported that Global Warming may be caused by factors unrelated to the conventional ideas of greenhouse gasses. It is this new theory you and/or your team have been asked to review and report on.

Based on your findings and the data available do you find Global Warming to be a natural phenomena? A natural phenomena that is being made worse? If so what is causing it? If more than one factor is causing it which is the dominate factor? Should the United Nations recommend or not reducing greenhouse gasses? If so by how much -- more than 20% which it is thought may cause massive unemployment and tremendous political upheaval or by less? Explain

Your support of rejection of the theory of global warming must be justified (detail-orientated) and have visual supports for your presentation.

All your work will be uploaded onto the Inquiry page of our class wiki.
You have several Check Points which you have to pass on your way to completing this inquiry. You must make sure that all the required information is given to the teacher to check at each checkpoint.

Here is a copy of the scaffolding book you have been given. If you need extra pages etc you can print them from here.
external image pdf.png Global Warming scaffolding .pdf

Concept: Power

This page is our ideas about things which may have a connection to the concept. Hopefully something on this page will be the springboard to get you started on an essential question for your own inquiry.
Please add any others which you think of.

What does this concept mean to you? Here is the result of some quick brainstorming we did.

solar power

wind power

nuclear power



'girl power'


world powers






human power

will power

renewable energy

balance of power

healing power

power saving
















'Power' Quotations

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. - Jimi Hendrix:
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.
Knowledge is power. - Lord Acton:
Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.
Do the thing you fear and you will have the power.
The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.
The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.
Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.
An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.

More thoughts gathered from an Internet search

Ever since the beginning of time, power has been an ubiquitously sought-for factor to all living things. Power is the essense of life; for, without power, one would not be able to breath, think, or be. If all living things were stripped of power, in all its forms, deaths will immediately occur.
Yet, the concept of power can be defined as many things. Power may mean different things to different people. Someone in a poverty-worn country might consider power to be the ability to acquire food. Someone else might think of power as being an C.E.O. Another individual, more fortunate, might consider power to be the skills of global domination!
Academic scholars, philosophers and of course, politicians all have had great interest in analyzing power.

The word power can be defined in various ways. It is used to refer to the possession of controlling influence over someone or something. In the context of physics, the word power is defined as the rate of doing work. The unit of measurement in which power is measured is known as watts. Watts is equivalent to another unit of measurement of power, which is called joules per second.

The term power is also used to define the ability of a person to do something or the possession of the qualities (particularly the mental qualities) which are either required to do something or to get something done. Power refers to one’s might or the physical strength of a person.

When a country or a state is powerful enough to influence the events that take place all over the world, it is called a world power or a superpower. A person who exercises authority or influence over someone or something is said to be in a position of power.

They say knowledge is power but, if that were the case, academics would rule the world. Knowledge in itself is not power; rather the application of knowledge is where power lies. They say a little learning is a dangerous thing. Well too much learning can lead to paralysis and a lack of decisive, timely action.

As a result, the G8 - the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Canada and Russia - no longer represent the world's most buoyant economies. Power is shifting towards the twin Asian giants of China and India, both of which are growing far faster than any G8 member, even including Russia; and to the energy exporters of the Middle East, and to some extent to Latin America.

Some possible questions / topics: These are not all essential questions, just some starters to get you thinking!

Is Ocean Power a Viable Energy Source?
Is knowledge power?
Which global players have power today—and which are likely to acquire it in the coming decades?
Nuclear power, the way of the future?
Is nuclear power the answer?
What is the importance of power in our lives?
Do heads of state really command power?
The power of language is ....
Money is powerful?
How is power gained, used and justified?
How much power is too much?
Freedom is power?
A world without power
How strong is the connection between education and power? A look at Japan and India.
The power to dream, the power to achieve
World powers in the 21st century
The power of the spoken word
Use of violence to achieve power