“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Here is a case-study for you about the connection between geography and global warming.


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Once their virtues are discovered, they go from being weeds to being resources.

An American newspaper reported the results of a fascinating set of experiments that relate to global warming and illustrate Emerson’s quote. Among other important aspects, the story also shows the importance of interdisciplinary critical thinking. At the very least Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, and Physics are involved in this story. You may find other subjects to add to the list. (The link to the newspaper story is at the end of this blog post.)


By completing this project, students will be able to:

  1. Develop reading and comprehension skills relating to a current global issue.
  2. Apply concepts learned in different subjects to this issue.
  3. Develop appreciation for the importance of interdisciplinary critical thinking.
  4. Develop writing skills using secondary sources of information.
  5. Learn to practice the ethics of such writing.

Intended audience: Students in standards (or Grades) 9 and above in any syllabus (state, national, or international).

Note to Teachers:

This project may be used to generate discussion in your class about the topic of the study. You may wish to have a group of teachers complete this project at the same time as the students and use it as a spring-board for an interdisciplinary faculty-student discussion forum. That can help teachers integrate each other’s subjects in relation to a topic and help students learn the art of interdisciplinary communication.

The project write-up in the given format may be considered for assignment credit in at least the following subjects:

  1. Geography
  2. Environmental studies / Environmental management
  3. English
  4. Global perspectives
  5. Biology

Instructions for your project:

  1. Always cite your sources! If you use another source (even if it is a friend, teacher, or someone), acknowledge that source for the information you received. If have to quote a source or if you copy and paste from an online source, be sure to give full details about your source. For online sources, give the web site address (URL; if it is too long, create a short URL — you can use a service like TinyURL to create it) and provide that link as your source.  Not acknowledging your source is called plagiarism and that is an academic no-no!
  2. Remember the KISS principle: Keep It ShortSimple. Write as briefly as you can but without losing information.Get your teacher’s help if you want. (If you get your teacher’s or anyone else’s help, be sure to thank them in the acknowledgment section in your write-up).
  3. Complete your project using this Word document  TIIGS Student project – WEEDS GLOBAL WARMING.Email the completed document as an attachment.

Here is the link to the story for your project.


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