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Exploring Polar Oceanography

Alan Sills, PBS

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This activity utilizes labs, online resources, and student ideas to build an understanding of polar climates, how changes in polar oceans can affect coastal climates, and how changes in polar regions affect climates elsewhere on Earth.

Activity takes four to five 45-minute lesson periods. Computer with internet access required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Ocean as climate control, oceanic conveyor belt; abrupt changes in thermohaline circulation
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2b
Climate is complex
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:B) Changes in matter
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B) Changes in matter.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
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C) Energy.

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 | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Consider adding one of the excellent extension activities as a final performance assessment.
  • One of the worksheets has a data link for 2009 data but worksheet says 2007 data.
  • There are a few International Polar Year references that should be hyperlinked to the IPY website http://ipy.arcticportal.org/
  • Teachers are referred to http://www.worldclimate.com more data.

About the Science

  • Students analyze data related to polar climate and polar climate change.
  • Students conduct two experiments to learn about convection and density currents.
  • Many high-quality references and extension activities provided.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Lesson effectively builds student understanding, beginning with an opportunity for students to write about their background knowledge about polar climates.
  • Good balance between writing, discussion, and hands-on activities.
  • Teacher keys and suggested answers are provided for much of the lesson.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Good data resources, easy to access, and well-integrated with the rest of the learning experiences.
  • Labs will take time to prepare but are well-designed with pictures for students to reference.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Also see Educapoles from the International Polar Foundation: http://www.educapoles.org/

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