Modeling allows us to make our own sense of what and why something is happening. Conceptual models are shared and explicit representations or analogies of phenomena and are used by scientists to help them understand the world around us. Models are used in all areas of science and offer external versions of mental concepts. Models are not a perfect representation; they are a simplified version of a system that highlights certain areas while ignoring others.
One of the biggest challenges our students' generation will face is climate change. For many years, scientists have linked the increased average global temperatures to the increased amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. These gases act like the glass in a greenhouse—letting radiation through, which warms the planet, but not allowing the heat to escape. The following activities will help students understand how this process works, and the actions they can take to help.