Smithsonian - Natural Museum of Natural History
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Activity takes a minimum of one 45-minute class period but offers materials for up to four 45-minute class periods. Equipment to show videos must be available.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Performance Expectations, 10 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 8 Cross Cutting Concepts, 9 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 3a
Other materials addressing 7e
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing information.
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
Other materials addressing:
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- This activity involves a freely playable video that has been cut to various lengths. This means that one or more class periods could be involved. Depending on the time constraints the 5 min, 14 min, 42 min versions can be played at http://www.iisd.org/publications/pub.aspx?pno=429 and gives the educator some flexibility. Here is the direct link to the 5 minute version: http://forces.si.edu/arctic/video/eyewitness.html.
About the Science
- This lesson introduces students to the increasing importance of indigenous ecological knowledge in understanding climate change. It begins with note-taking from expert observers in the video to the development of a concept map of the observations and impacts and links indigenous knowledge and science.
- The data provided is from 1956 to 2005. There are, however, references that would allow students to add additional and more recent data points.
- While some may question the value of qualitative traditional ecological knowledge, the lesson does a good job of arguing that the observers are highly motivated to be accurate. The qualitative observations are verified by historic weather records.
- Extensive list of references for the educator are provided.
About the Pedagogy
- Carefully constructed activity suggests a variety of approaches for conducting the investigation with students of various abilities, grade levels, and interests.
- Includes clear guidance for educators on how to carry out the teaching methods.
- Builds student skills: note taking, note organizing, summarizing and concept map making.
- Includes assessment options.
- Extension options are suggested.
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: 10
MS-ESS2.A1:All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet’s systems. This energy is derived from the sun and Earth’s hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth’s materials and living organisms.
MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.
MS-ESS2.C5:Water’s movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land’s surface features and create underground formations.
MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.
MS-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.
MS-ESS3.B1:Mapping the history of natural hazards in a region, combined with an understanding of related geologic forces can help forecast the locations and likelihoods of future events.
MS-ESS3.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.
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:Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS4.C1:Adaptation by natural selection acting over generations is one important process by which species change over time in response to changes in environmental conditions. Traits that support successful survival and reproduction in the new environment become more common; those that do not become less common. Thus, the distribution of traits in a population changes.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 8
MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.
MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
MS-C2.1:Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.
MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.
MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
MS-C5.4:The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.
MS-C6.1:Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts; therefore, complex natural and designed structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.
MS-C7:Stability and Change
Science and Engineering Practices: 9
MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.
MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.
MS-P4.3: Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships in data.
MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
MS-P6.1:Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict(s) and/or describe(s) phenomena.
MS-P6.3:Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) 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.
MS-P6.5:Apply scientific reasoning to show why the data or evidence is adequate for the explanation or conclusion
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.