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Evidence of Ice Free Seas
http://www.andrill.org/flexhibit/flexhibit/materials/activities/Activity4B-EvidenceOfIceFreeSeas.pdf

LuAnn Dahlman, ANDRILL

In this activity, students make a model sea floor sediment core using two types of buttons to represent fossil diatoms. They then compare the numbers of diatom fossils in the sediment at different depths to determine whether the seas were free of ice while the diatoms were alive.

Activity takes one class period (or less). Additional materials required.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species. The distribution patterns of fossils show evidence of gradual as well as abrupt extinctions related to climate change in the past.
About Teaching Principle 3
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Scientific observations indicate that global climate has changed in the past, is changing now, and will change in the future. The magnitude and direction of this change is not the same at all locations on Earth.
About Teaching Principle 4
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Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
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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:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
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A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:B) Heredity and evolution
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B) Heredity and evolution.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
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C) Systems and connections.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
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The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
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Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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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

About the Science

  • The model built by students allows them to see how paleoclimate scientists use fossils to draw inferences about the climate at the time the fossils were living creatures.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The text is clear (explanations and questions), the activity is certainly going to be fun for elementary to middle school students, it is easy to set up, and the accompanying sheets and graphs are very helpful.

About the Pedagogy

  • The illustrated directions for students are exceptionally well done and each step is accompanied by excellent images to guide students.
  • Activity is carefully constructed to pose questions and reflection at regular intervals.
  • Excellent use of models to illustrate how scientists determine the nature of past climate history.
  • Students present results to visitors in a kind of science exhibit/presentation format.
  • Materials for this and other Andrill activity need to be secured in advance from home or purchased from Andrill Flexhibit kit.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Students should have no problem following the clear and well-written directions.

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