WGBH Educational Foundation Teachers' Domain
Activity takes two to three class periods depending on the number of supporting resources used. Requires multiple computer stations and additional materials.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Performance Expectations, 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 14 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 9 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 8 Cross Cutting Concepts, 17 Science and Engineering Practices
Activity seems most appropriate for middle and lower high school students.
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 7a
Other materials addressing 7e
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and connections.
Notes From Our Reviewers
The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness.
Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about
how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Given the number and variety of media resources linked from the activity, educators will need to select those that are most relevant to objectives of the the lesson and interests/grade level of students.
- Educators should be careful to not overload the students with information from the videos; it might be difficult for students to keep the information straight. For example, sea ice doesn’t seem to be explicitly discussed in the lesson other than what is shown in the videos. Sea ice is mentioned in the melting ice in a glass experiment, but the connection should be drawn more clearly and the difference made explicit between the ice in the glass and sea ice.
- Excellent additional resource for most up-to-date information on Arctic Sea Ice: Arctic Report Card http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard.
About the Science
- Many excellent media resources, most of them Quicktime videos, guide and support the activity. These resources are produced by credible institutions like NASA and NSIDC.
- Good overview of different types of ice. Use of videos and animations is very useful to show various concepts.
- Video of native populations is effective at showing impacts of changes.
- Many of the videos focus on the Arctic but lessons learned also apply to Antarctica.
- Videos might get out of date quickly, especially in regards to melting ice, where things are happening quickly. Be aware of this and check the most recent science facts.
- Comment from scientist: (specifically about part 1, #4):Glaciers are land ice, so the sentence isn’t worded correctly. They may mean ice sheets: "like sea ice and ice sheets, glaciers are also melting." Basically, ice sheets need to be differentiated from glaciers and the point made that both are forms of land ice.
About the Pedagogy
- Activity combines passive video clip watching, interactive discussions, hands-on activities, research, and reflection (poster presentation) components, which will help to engage students of different learning styles.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- This activity is technology heavy. Teachers need access to several computers in the classroom or ability for students to watch videos on their own.
- Some of the media resources listed may not be functional at time of use, but there are plenty of options from which to choose.
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Performance Expectations: 2
MS-ESS3-5:Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6
MS-ESS2.A:Earth’s Materials and Systems
MS-ESS2.C:The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes
MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.
MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.
MS-LS2.B1:Food webs are models that demonstrate how matter and energy is transferred between producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem. Transfers of matter into and out of the physical environment occur at every level. Decomposers recycle nutrients from dead plant or animal matter back to the soil in terrestrial environments or to the water in aquatic environments. The atoms that make up the organisms in an ecosystem are cycled repeatedly between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.
MS-LS2.C1:Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 5
MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.
MS-C2:Cause and effect
MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.
MS-C7:Stability and Change
Science and Engineering Practices: 14
MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
MS-P1.2:ask questions to identify and/or clarify evidence and/or the premise(s) of an argument.
MS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.
MS-P2.5:Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.
MS-P6.2:Construct an explanation using models or representations.
MS-P6.5:Apply scientific reasoning to show why the data or evidence is adequate for the explanation or conclusion
MS-P7.2:Respectfully provide and receive critiques about one’s explanations, procedures, models, and questions by citing relevant evidence and posing and responding to questions that elicit pertinent elaboration and detail.
MS-P7.3:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.
MS-P7.4:Make an oral or written argument that supports or refutes the advertised performance of a device, process, or system based on empirical evidence concerning whether or not the technology meets relevant criteria and constraints.
MS-P8.1:Critically read scientific texts adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas and/or obtain scientific and/or technical information to describe patterns in and/or evidence about the natural and designed world(s).
MS-P8.2:Integrate qualitative and/or quantitative scientific and/or technical information in written text with that contained in media and visual displays to clarify claims and findings.
MS-P8.3:Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence.
MS-P8.4:Evaluate data, hypotheses, and/or conclusions in scientific and technical texts in light of competing information or accounts.
MS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information (e.g. about a proposed object, tool, process, system) in writing and/or through oral presentations.
Performance Expectations: 1
HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 9
HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.
HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.
HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.
HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.
HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.
HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.
HS-LS2.C:Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
HS-LS4.D1:Humans depend on the living world for the resources and other benefits provided by biodiversity. But human activity is also having adverse impacts on biodiversity through overpopulation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. Thus sustaining biodiversity so that ecosystem functioning and productivity are maintained is essential to supporting and enhancing life on Earth. Sustaining biodiversity also aids humanity by preserving landscapes of recreational or inspirational value.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 8
HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.
HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.
HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.
HS-C5.1:The total amount of energy and matter in closed systems is conserved.
HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.
HS-C5.4: Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems.
HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.
HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.
Science and Engineering Practices: 17
HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables
HS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.
HS-P4.5:Evaluate the impact of new data on a working explanation and/or model of a proposed process or system.
HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
HS-P6.3:Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to provide an explanation of phenomena and solve design problems, taking into account possible unanticipated effects.
HS-P6.4:Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.
HS-P7.1:Compare and evaluate competing arguments or design solutions in light of currently accepted explanations, new evidence, limitations (e.g., trade-offs), constraints, and ethical issues
HS-P7.2:Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.
HS-P7.3:Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence, challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining additional information required to resolve contradictions.
HS-P7.4:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.
HS-P7.5:Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.
HS-P8.1:Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
HS-P8.2:Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.
HS-P8.3:Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source.
HS-P8.4: Evaluate the validity and reliability of and/or synthesize multiple claims, methods, and/or designs that appear in scientific and technical texts or media reports, verifying the data when possible.
HS-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically).