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Impacts of Change in Glacier Ice

Alaska Sea Grant

This is a five-activity module that explores the evidence for and impacts of melting glacial ice, with resources from major institutions and scientists who study glaciers -- primarily in Arctic areas. The suite of activities includes both glaciers and melting ice, as well as the impact of melt water downstream. Each activity follows the 5E model of Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation.

Entire module takes 9 to 11 days, but activities can be done in chunks. Additional materials necessary.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

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
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Climate change has consequences
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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
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
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

  • Because this lesson is designed for Alaskan schools and is focused on the Arctic, it may be difficult to adapt for other states, but it is a solid, regionally focused resource about important climate and geoscience concepts.
  • Whole module takes 9 to 11 days to complete, although activities can be "chunked" if less time is available.
  • Hands-on activities, combined with background content and images, provide an engaging suite of resources.

About the Science

  • This investigation explores the ways that changing climate can affect physical and biological conditions in rivers the ocean and other aquatic ecosystems within Alaska.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Provides good hands-on experience to learn about changes in the glaciers and their effects on the environment.

About the Pedagogy

  • Carefully and thoroughly designed series of activities. The learning objectives are framed as focus questions.
  • This activity has excellent detailed guidance including alternative activities for the teacher through all components of this lesson.
  • There are several elaborations and extensions suggested throughout the lesson. Complete teacher background information and preparation guidance is provided at the end of the module.
  • Educators and learners who are not in Alaska may need to seek out additional information to learn about the environment and issues related to Alaska fisheries, glacial melt, and waterways. CLEAN has a number of these resources.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Requires computer with internet access. All the links except the following are working as of March 2011: Journey to Alaska's Glaciers: Webquest to Explore How Glaciers Shape the Land. Replacement link is:http://www.iwebquest.org/alaska/webquest/glacier.htm. This is a suggested resource for Activity 2A. Full material lists are provided.

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