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Communicating and teaching Climate Change from Junior school on:

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 -The Nature of Energy – Earth’s Energy System – Humans as Thermodynamic Beings – Best uses of Air  


Excellent website background on the

This programme is designed to communicate the key concepts necessary for understanding how the global atmosphere works to enable our existence and how, on a very local basis, it can be made to work for the greatest benefit of everyone. Key concepts are carefully chosen to ensure that all elements of the programme are consistent with the two great properties of air:

Air has a large capacity to transfer thermal energy by CONVECTION. 

      Air has a small capacity to transfer thermal energy by CONDUCTION.

 A clear knowledge of these two very different properties of air is considered essential for developing strategies for our effective use of the atmosphere.

 Key concepts

(Each concept generates a range of education topics. Sample topics are linked to each concept.)

Humans are Thermodynamic Beings  

Air contains WARMER TRACE GASES Without these gases Earth's surface temperature would be 33°C cooler.

CONVECTION in  the Atmosphere. Thermal energy is transferred in the mass movement of air molecules 

Sun, Air and Life. Every layer of gases with its different energy transformations plays a role in the global energy balance. This balance enables life as we know it.  

Water, the dominant Warmer Trace Gas: key to understanding Human-Induced Climate Change.

Fuels, Air and Energy:  Combustion involves fuels and air.

The Principle of the CONSERVATION of ENERGY:  “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can only be converted from one form to another” 

Best Use of Air -keeping warm, keeping cool. Thermal Convection and Conduction in Insulation- Thermal Barriers and Bridges. 

"Greenhouse" Effects.  A brief exploration of why we still employ high-risk images of Earth's climate as a  greenhouse.


Index of sustainable climate terms.

 "Energy experts"  use bewildering symbols to describe climate processes and appear to have little knowledge of their impact of their use on popular images of energy. Link here to an index of definitions of climate related terms that identify and reduce the confusion.

 Creating a Climate of Chaos
Who are the contenders for creating  the greatest confusion about how our climate works?


   ***Language Alert***

The ‘energy’ and ‘climate’ terms used are chosen because they minimise the risk of creating learning blocks and they maximise the coherency of learning activities. Climate Change refers to long term changes to weather patterns because of human activity.
The “greenhouse” education model is not used for communicating climate processes. It is used for communicating the fundamentals of Insulation (Buildings and Clothing).

Key ideas can be communicated using very simple materials. Examples:

·         The nature of Trace Gases can be communicated using 1000 pebbles or seeds.

·          The nature of thermal transfer/distribution can be recorded using two coloured pencils, one red and one blue. See website illustrations.

·         Cans of warm and cold water can provide a wide range of experiences and experiments with thermal transfer.

·         Joss sticks or food colouring in water can illustrate thermal convection.

 The framework of concepts underpinning the programme is designed to maximise the communication to schools and communities of both the thermal nature of Earth’s Atmosphere and of Insulation (Building and Clothing Design).  It is part of a wider programme to communicate the nature of Energy. More detailed activities and links will be added as time permits.

 For information of an integrated 80 lesson school-community programme contact (Energy Action 2008) or   (Energy Action Australia)

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