• Views 62
  • Favorites
Photo by Jas Min via Unsplash

Database Provider




3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Types

  • Videos, 6 minutes, 45 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus


Engine Trouble: Science History with Robert Krulwich

Ask a Question

  • This video provides an animated history of the carbon engine's contribution to global warming, ending with predictions and warnings for our environmental future.
  • Students will learn about the carbon emission load over time, from the Pleistocene period through 2021, with the help of animated graphics, clear narration, and a corresponding article. 
Teaching Tips


  • The helpful, animated graphs illustrate the history of CO2 levels on Earth.
  • The correlating article relates to the video sequentially, so teachers can pause to read before watching the next segment.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers will need internet and may need YouTube access.
  • The information may disturb some students since the implication is that sea level rise may be irreversible.
  • Students should be familiar with greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect.


  • English teachers can utilize the video as a small-group note-taking activity.
  • Science teachers can show the video and have students research innovative solutions to carbon engine use.
  • The website links hundreds of other videos by category at the top of the webpage, so teachers can easily create entire units from this starting point.
  • Students, especially those with anxiety, may enjoy looking at strategies people and organizations use to reduce emissions and adapt to change.
  • After watching the video, students can research other climate tipping points and create infographics to warn others.
  • This video can introduce students to sea level rise and glacial melt.
Scientist Notes
This video explains what engines are, how they produce carbon dioxide, and how excess carbon dioxide leads to global warming and climate change. The video breaks down how carbon causes global warming and why that is a concern in a simple way. One section of the video mentions the number of CO2 molecules in the air (420, 280, etc.), which is in units of parts per million. The video says that carbon levels started to rise in the 1780s, which is accurate, as carbon dioxide levels started to rise during the Industrial Revolution. However, the 1880s are often referenced when talking about global warming, as that is when there were enough consistent weather observations to estimate a global average temperature from direct measurements (as opposed to proxy data, like ice cores). The information presented is accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Social Studies
    • World History: Global Studies - Geography, People, and the Environment
      • 6.2.8.GeoPP.3.a: Use geographic models to describe how the availability of natural resources influenced the development of the political, economic, and cultural systems of each of the classical civilizations and provided motivation for expansion.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.II.3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
      • SL.ES.7.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
  • Related Resources


    Login to leave a review