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Sea tubes to solve climate crisis?

  • Key Stage 3
  • GCSE
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Communication
Topic: Atmosphere & climate change

The media are full of doom and gloom about climate change. Scientists are usually quoted as confirming the problem and its causes. But scientific ideas also offer solutions. This activity describes a plan to install huge hanging pipes in the ocean. Nutrient-rich cold water from the deep sea will rise to the surface and promote algae growth…and the algae will absorb CO2. Students study the science of the scheme and consider its benefits and problems. They then write a script for a celebrity to present the idea on a competitive (imagined!) TV programme What have scientists done for us?

11-16 How Science Works:
How Science Works

11-14 (2008 KS3) – applications and implications
1.2a Exploring how the creative application of scientific ideas can bring about
technological developments and consequent changes in the way people
think and behave.

14-16 (KS4) – applications and implications of science
4a The use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks

11-14 (2008 KS3)
3.4c Human activity and natural processes can lead to changes in the environment.

Published: 4th October 2007
Reviews & Comments: 9

Learning objectives

Students will consider the benefits and drawbacks of using sea pipes to help reduce climate change.

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

11-14 (2008 KS3)
3.4c Human activity and natural processes can lead to changes in the environment.

GCSE specifications
AQA Core
B1b Greenhouse effect

Edexcel Core
Topic 7 C1b Global warming

Gateway core
Module P2 Living for the future – global warming

OCR 21st Century Additional
Module C1 Air quality

Running the activity

Display page 1 to set the scene. Emphasise the quotation at the bottom. Next display page 2. This page describes the science behind the new technology and outlines three tasks. The tasks are:
• Page 3 – cut labels from page 3 and use them to complete the diagram.
• Page 4 gets students to consider the benefits and problems of the scheme. The task promotes higher order thinking, and is based upon two of De Bono 'six hats' (and could be extended to use all six). However taking the positive and the negative as extremes and using highlighters means that students engage quickly at a reflective level with no copying of text.
• TV script - this creative task is the third one described on page 2. If you wish, extend the activity so that students produce podcasts and upload their work onto the Internet.

News links

New Scientist
News story from the New Scientist
New Scientist
Another New Scientist link

Media links

BBC news
This includes a useful video link

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?


May 24th, 2010

5 Star

I used this as a lesson observation with my Yr 7's. It was fantastic, something really visual, they could apply their knowledge of climate change and other topics to say why they thought it was a good idea. Fit in well to the APP grid for learning, as they were able to form their own opinions based on evidence provided.

Reviewer: melissa kahli

glbal warming

Dec 8th, 2009

4 Star

Seeing the application of science to solve society,s problem is a very good umfamiliar context for students to apply their skills through thinking skills. A highly challenging and engaging activity for my top groups and highly authentic.

Reviewer: brian caesar

Sea tubes to solve climate crisis?"

Apr 24th, 2009

4 Star

Excellent activity for reinforcing the severity of the problem and therefore the ineed to try out less conventional ideas. Pupils were able to work out what was happning independently. Last section is suitable for assessment of AF2.

Reviewer: seema gaur

sea tubes

Mar 22nd, 2009

4 Star

provoked discussion amongst jaded pupils; some of their solutions were 'interesting'.

Reviewer: Helen Marsden


Jan 25th, 2009

4 Star

Year 9 enjoyed this activity. we got quite a discussion out of the ideas.

Reviewer: Deborah Bradley

Sea tubes

Oct 12th, 2008

5 Star

Very usesful for lesson on global warming and possible solutions.

Reviewer: M Clark

yr 7 curriculum

Jul 6th, 2008

1 Star

i can only rate at 1 because the whole of the yr7 is not ready to look at... I cannot possibly start teaching your new yr 7 programme with only 1 unit ready. this is just ridiculous. I like what i have seen but it is not practical to be so disorganised.

Reviewer: carol watton

Sea tubes to solve climate crisis

Oct 29th, 2007

5 Star

Teaching Year 10 Unit B1b I used this upd8 activity. It worked very well after the review of greenhouse effect, global warming etc, things they already knew, to introduce a topical idea and one that they had not come across before. It captured their attention and interest.

Reviewer: Fiona Austin

Sea tubes

Oct 29th, 2007

5 Star

Brilliant resource that is really topical. One of my Year 10's had read something about this is the paper but couldn't remember the details, then this resource arrived and I happened to be teaching B1b at the moment - result!

Extended their thinking and also used De Bono's hats - we just had a launch for this in school too!

Would really recommend this.

Reviewer: Rachel Conrad

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