Global Warming in a Jar

This project was borrowed from the presentation of a student at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Clean Air Conservancy. You can do this science experiments with kids like you, or by yourself as long as you have the materials.

You will need the following materials:

  • 2 large clear glass jars

  • 2 wall thermometers

  • 1 soda siphon

  • 1 bottle of soda

  • 2 infrared heating lamps


  1. Place one wall thermometer in each of the jars.

  2. Seal one jar with its cap or lid.

  3. Siphon some of the carbon dioxide from the soda into the other jar, making sure the gas doesn't spray out. Then quickly seal the jar so that the carbon dioxide is trapped inside the jar.

  4. Place each jar next to an infrared lamp, and turn on the lamps for about 7 minutes, and watch what happens to the temperature with the thermometer.

  5. Turn off the lamps and observe which jar cools down faster by watching the drop of temperature in the thermometer.

  6. Two hours after the initial heating, read the thermometers again. What is the difference?

  7. You can run another test with the lamps to see how hot each jar will get, and how much heat each jar retains.

Concept Explanation:

Placing carbon dioxide into one of the jars mimmicks the greenhouse effect on the earth. The jar with the carbon dioxide should not only heat up faster, but after it has been allowed to cool, will stay hotter than the jar without the gas. When you run a second test, the jar with the carbon dioxide may maintain even more heat than before. Make sure to plot your results on a graph so you can compare the temperatures of the jars. This is one of those science experiments with kids that really shows the direct effect of greenhouse gases, and the reality of the earth's warming.

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