Monthly Archives: February 2014

Global Warming vs. Climate Change

Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect

The Earth Science class is discovering and discussing global warming and climate change.  Part of the discovery today was natural and anthropogenic causes of both.  The students had to decide based upon scientific data:

1)      Is global warming happening?

2)      If it is, is global warming a natural, anthropogenic or combination of both processes?

3)      What is climate change?  Is it good or bad?

4)      Will global warming cause climate change?

5)      What are greenhouse gases and what affect do they have on climate change?

6)      What causes greenhouse gas?

Some of the posters are shown here.  As a class consensus for the questions are

1)      Global warming is happening.  In fact, the average earth surface temperature has risen 1 degree F in the past 150 years.

2)      Global warming is a natural process, but humans are causing it to happen faster that the plants and animals can adapt.  The earth has been slowly warming over the past 10,000 years since the last ice age, but the past 150 years, the rate has increased.

3)      Climate change is when the average temperature and precipitation change over a long period of time.  Climate changes all the time because the earth is constantly changing.  We can’t stop it, but we are causing it to happen quickly.  It is bad because the cold plant and animals cannot adapt that fast.  Animals like polar bears, penguins, seals and some whales won’t be able to survive.  Some coral cannot handle oceans getting warmer and will die.

4)      Global warming is only one cause of climate change, but it is the one area that humans are affecting the most.  Tectonic plates move but very slowly. They cause climate change as well but slowly.

5)      There are 4 greenhouse gases we need to worry about: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides.  Humans can’t change the amount of water vapor, but we are putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  There has not been as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the time of the dinosaurs.   The greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun and do not let it escape back into space.  That heat builds up and causes global warming.

6)      Volcanoes, plant and animals decomposing and respiring and radioactive decay cause some greenhouse gases.  Humans burning fossil fuels are adding additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


Global Warming

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Ecological Footprint

Today students took the Personal Ecological Footprint survey from the Institute for Sustainable Energy

As the students took the survey, I heard around the room, “I have 600 points here alone!” and “This can’t be right!”  They were shocked at how their daily activities have a global impact.  When they were done with the survey, we disc used how they can reduce their global impact. They were placed in groups of 3 and had to decide on three things from the survey they could do to reduce their scores.

When they were done, they combined their scores, subtracted what changes they made and reported on the impact difference.

Three simple things from each group resulted in an average of 12% point reduction!

Finally, each group had to produce posters to hang around school as conversation starters “Three Things I Can Do To Reduce My Ecological Footprint.”

Ecological Footprint ecological footprint poster 2 ecological footprint poster 3 ecological footprint poster 4 ecological footprint poster 5 ecological footprint poster 6 ecological footprint poster 7 ecological footprint poster 8 ecological footprint poster 9


Here is a summary of the posters.

Take less showers turn the heat down buy less new clothes more used clothes turn the heat down 4 degrees eat less meat use less electronics take less showers stop letting water run while brushing teeth buy less new shoes turn off the lights get rid used electronics create less garbage less waste recycle clothes lower heat repair broken objects buy more local foods eat less meat lower house temperature use less disposable items eat local grown avoid buying disposable items use low-flow showerheads turn off water while brushing my teeth use an energy-efficient refrigerator use rechargeable batteries use more CFL eat less meat every day turn off the lights and games when not in use don’t waste any food use rechargeable batteries reduce using things take shorter showers recycle batteries don’t let water run while brushing teeth buy less shoes torn off lights when not in use turn my heat down use less electronics reuse or recycle electronics reduce and reuse clothes charge batteries lower temperature in winter repair things eat locally grown food cut back on number of electronics avoid using disposable items drive less combine trips to the store buy more 2nd hand clothes carpool more turn off lights recycle instead of throwing away repair my car

It’s Not Illegal If You Don’t Get Caught? HUH?

To introduce speed, velocity and acceleration, I ask the students, “What kind of car do you want and why?”  I get a wide range of responses like “It’s hot!” and “Has the best sound system” and even “Everyone looks at it when you ride.”  I do expect some to reply “It screams,” and “Has the best pick up.”  It gives a good intro to talk about speed and acceleration.

Last fall, I asked why do you need a car that goes from 0 to 90 in 10 seconds?  Anything over 65 is illegal.  I never expected them to say, “It’s only illegal if you get caught.”  What?  Only if you get caught?  How did this philosophy get started?  How deep does this go?  What is acceptable if you don’t get caught? 

I just did not know how to address this issue.  I was just shocked.  I let it go.

I missed a chance to discuss what it means to have boundaries. I missed an opportunity for real education. 

When it happens again, I hope I am ready.



Don’t Drop Out.

My heart about broke yesterday when I heard the number of freshmen saying they can’t wait till this summer. No, they weren’t going for a summer outing or camp experience.  They were turning 16 and  want to drop out of high school.

I listened to them give the dozens of reasons to drop out. “It’s too hard.” “I’m gonna fail anyway.” “My parents never finished, why me?” “It’s too hard” “I’ll just go get a job” “It’s too hard.” “A GED is just as good and it’s not as hard.” “I get too distracted in school.”   Oh, did I mention what I heard the most? “It’s too hard.”

I tried to reason with them to stick it out.  Anything worth doing takes effort.  I used the example of the new video game that came out.  I said “It is hard to get past the first few levels, but once you get the hang of the game, the rest of the levels are pretty simple to do.”  I was told “I just use the cheats to beat the game.”  CHEATS?  Is everything about using the cheats?

I am starting to realize we have a generation of students that, as a majority, do not understand how to persist.  Many of my students use ‘hacked’ apps, ‘cheats’ on games and in the class, look to the minimum to get by.  “Mr. Case, is there an easier way to do this?” is a question I get often and did not realize the impact on their whole philosophy.

If any of my students are reading this, please understand, LIFE DOES NOT HAVE CHEATS!  Anything worth having, takes effort.  Yea, you can drop out, MAYBE get a minimum wage job, get some government subsidy existence, but you are missing out.  Put forth some effort.  The football coach perhaps said it best: “The GAIN is worth the PAIN.”

Yea kids, I may be a pain in your backside, but the GAIN you will get in life is worth it.

Don't Drop Out

NC DENaissance Fair

I borrowed this blog from Kelly Hines.  The links would not work.  Space is limited.  ONLY 60 spaces are left!  Come in your period attire and join the fun.  I will be there  IN A KILT!  Come join the fun,.


HUZZZAH and welcome Ye Lords and Ladies, and anyone who has even an inkling for FUN, festivities, and edutainment to the first DENaissance Faire. Embrace your imagination for a spectacular day of learning from and with artisans, story tellers, courtiers, alchemists, fortune tellers, and musicians. Bridge time and talent as we weave together traditional arts and skills with modern tools and ideas. Spend a day learning. sharing, and having fun with educators from across the Carolinas with the common thread of passions for teaching, learning, and the Discovery Educator Network.


Don’t miss out on this exceptional one day event. Register TODAY. Space is limited!

All are welcome! Costumes are encouraged, but not required.  There will be prizes!

Bring your favorite digital device and a love for learning. We can’t wait to share!


Booths in the market will include…

Alchemy – Fun hands on science demonstrations to do with your students

Story Telling – Using portable green screen technology to enhance learning

Fortune Telling – Creating augmented reality experiences for your students

Quests – Learn how to gamify your learning space and how to use handheld GPS devices to enhance teaching and engagement

Artists – Enjoy a DENaissance Photo booth and learn how to use digital photography in the classroom

Musicians – Learn to play an instrument… really!

… and more


We will also have some very special guests from lands far beyond, including Steve Dembo and Patti Duncan!



Bittersweet Completions

For the past two years, I have participated in the Fellowship program for the North Carolina Science Leadership Association (  I have been part of 12 of the most passionate science teachers and leaders in North Carolina.  Our cohort met today for the last time.

I have learned how to be a better leader and more importantly, a better follower.  I have learned more about why I operate the way I do.  I am about as far lower right on the Myers-Briggs personality profile as someone can get.  The past two years have helped me operate more efficiently with people in the opposite spectrum.  I have learned more to appreciate the difference people bring to the table through this fellowship.

My cohort of Fellows have helped each other learn to apply for grants, plan rigorous lesson plans, practice active listening skills and encourage each other to advance our careers.

I am glad to have spent this time with my cohort.  It is sad for our time to end but it is time to move onto apply everything I have learned.