Climate Change Dodgeball

Create a visual representation of the greenhouse effect through this group activity.

Objective

To learn how increasing amounts of greenhouse gases keep heat from escaping Earth

Materials

  • Crumpled-up paper balls

Time

20 minutes

Procedure

Divide the kids into two groups, with most of the kids in one cluster in the center and the others forming a circle around them. The kids in the center are the Earth, while the kids in the circle are greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. You are the sun outside the circle who throws “rays” in the form of crumpled-up paper balls at the Earth. The Earth kids repel the balls by throwing them out of the circle. The greenhouse gas kids try to catch or block the balls from leaving the circle and throw them back at the Earth. The round ends when all of your paper balls are outside the circle.

Since most of the kids are in the center, the first round should end quickly. In subsequent rounds, however, increase the number of kids in the circle, explaining that you are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Do this each round, making it increasingly difficult for Earth to reflect the sun’s rays. At the end, you can put one brave kid in the center for dramatic effect.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does this game demonstrate? (How increasing levels of greenhouse gases heat up the Earth because it’s harder for the planet to reflect the sun’s rays.)
  2. Did it seem like the Earth was suffering at the end? What caused the greenhouse gasses to increase?
  3. What can we do to prevent/mitigate human-caused climate change? What effects might we see where we live?

This lesson plan is an activity from the Environmental Activities for Youth Clubs and Camps, a resource developed by the Peace Corps Office of Overseas Programming and Training (OPATS). It was contributed by Peace Corps/Peru.

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