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Alaska SeaGrant, Alaska Seas and Rivers Curriculum

This activity engages learners in exploring the impact of climate change on arctic sea ice in the Bering Sea. They graph and analyze sea ice extent data, conduct a lab on thermal expansion of water, and then observe how a scientist collects long-term data on a bird population.

Activity takes five to six class periods. Video streaming capability is necessary.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Sunlight warms the planet
About Teaching Principle 1
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Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Some populations are more vulnerable to impacts of energy choices than others.
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7.6 Vulnerable populations.
The energy of a system or object that results in its temperature is called thermal energy.
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1.2 Thermal energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:B) Designing investigations
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B) Designing investigations.
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:C) Energy
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C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:D) Global Connections
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D) Global 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 | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • There is an easy link to a very comprehensive teacher background section. In the NSIDC sea ice index visual, teachers should make sure that students can read and understand the bits of critical information at the top of each visual and that the right-hand visual represents a baseline at the beginning of collecting time.
  • NSIDC sea ice index is updated here: http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/
  • Also, Arctic Sea ice is tracked daily here at NSIDC: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

About the Science

  • The sea ice activity is the first of five investigations in which which students explore different impacts of climate change on arctic sea ice and the Bering Sea.
  • After they graph and analyze sea ice extent data, students explore thermal expansion of water as a lab and then observe how a scientist collects long-term data on a bird population.
  • Comments from expert scientist:The lesson demonstrates how Arctic sea ice is changing and helps students understand how those changes may impact climate, wildlife, and human activities.
  • It would be good to add mention of another part of the world's ice whose melt does affect sea level - namely land ice - the ice sheets and glaciers, and it could be demonstrated by dropping ice cubes into the water.

About the Pedagogy

  • Teachers should consider all of the investigations in this unit on Arctic Sea Ice. There is a lot of flexibility built into this series of investigations.
  • Teachers can use specific investigations or the entire set. Additionally there are multiple resources to choose from.
  • The teacher background section is very comprehensive.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Capacity of available computers to stream videos may be a concern for some schools.

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


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