Do we make more harmful gas or less?

Last updated: July 22, 2020

Math Skill: Interpreting line graphs (3-digit numbers)

Science Area: Pollution / Weather and Climate

Grade level: 3rd4th – 5th grades

Area level: State-scale

Environmental Area: Air / Climate change

Purpose: Understand trends of CO2 emissions in Indiana over the last decade and develop awareness of greenhouse gas emissions



The amount of CO2 emitted in Indiana had steadily increased since 1990. It declined in 2009 due to economic recessions. The amount of CO2 had been decreasing and that in 2017 was the lowest over the last 30 years. Our state released 176 million metric tons of carbon and ranked 7th in the nation in 2017 (U.S.EIA).


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(Source: U.S.EIA, Table 2)


The electric power sector is responsible for about 50% of the total CO2 emissions in Indiana.

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Indiana’s CO2 emissions by sector (2017) (Source: U.S. EIA, Table 4)

The main reason that the electric power sector occupies the largest portion is that Indiana depends majority, which is 92%, of its energy on fossil fuels –coal, natural gas, and petroleum.

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(Source: U.S. EIA, consumption by source).

In particular, the use of coal is closely linked to the amount of CO2 emissions in the state. Indiana uses large amounts of coal and ranked second in coal consumption only after Texas in 2019 (U.S. EIA).  Coal produces the largest CO2 when combusted, almost double the amount from natural gas (U.S.EIA).  After all, the use of coal is responsible 50% of CO2 emitted from the power sector and one fourth of the total CO2 emitted in Indiana.

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Energy consumption in Indiana, 2018 (Source: U.S. EIA, consumption by source)



Climate change and Greenhouse Gas Effect

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The purpose of this activity is to improve students’ skills in interpreting line graphs by using a graph that shows trends of CO2 emissions in Indiana since 2008 . Through reading the graph, students will understand the idea that how CO2e missions in their state has been changing over the last 10 years.

Worksheets & answer key

Math Skill: Interpreting line graphs (3-digit numbers)

The line graph shows trends in CO2 emissions in Indiana since 2006. Students complete questions related to the graph. They will also use 3-digit addition and subtraction to answer questions. The graph was created using the data provided from U.S. Energy Information Administration (U.S. EIA, Table 2).

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