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Charting Temperature Changes

LuAnn Dahlman, Antarctica's Climate Secrets: Project Andrill

In this activity, students chart temperature changes over time in Antarctica's paleoclimate history by reading rock cores. Students use their data to create an interactive display illustrating how Antarctica's climate timeline can be interpreted from ANDRILL rock cores.

Activity takes three 45- to 50-minute class periods. Additional materials required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Changes in climate is normal but varies over times/ space
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4d
Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4e
Climate is variable
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is variable
Our understanding of climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Our understanding of climate
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing 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.

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

  • Activity can be done by the entire class or perhaps two or three groups to give students opportunities for building and analyzing their own display.
  • This activity is part of the ANDRILL Flexibit suite of activities. Teacher may wish to have one student group build this interactive and present to other students while other student groups build and present other interactives in the suite.
  • For a simpler version of this activity, teacher may wish to omit the PVC structure of the interactive and have students focus on the core cards.
  • Note that the PDF file is formatted to be printed double-sided. There are blank pages inserted in places where cards and images will need to print single-sided.

About the Science

  • An excellent use of models to illustrate how scientists determine the nature of past climate history.
  • Students build a graphic depiction of Antarctica's climate history.
  • Students examine different layers in rock cores - e.g. diamictite transitional layered rocks and volcanic ash - for evidence of warm and cool climates in Anarctica's past climate history.
  • Focus is on authentic research and data.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Provides a good brief summary of Earth's temperature fluctuations in last 40 million years, including a brief introduction of some of the mechanisms contributing to those changes.

About the Pedagogy

  • The illustrated directions for students are exceptionally well done and each step is accompanied by excellent images to guide students.
  • Student handouts are very well done, particularly the core cards. Excellent introductory reading for students.
  • This is a project-based, hands-on group activity that asks student to create an interactive display of rock core evidence for climate change. By having to guide and explain to visitors as they interact with the display, students will further consolidate their understanding of the core science content.
  • The teacher may wish to spend additional time reinforcing the concept that rock types in cores indicate past environments, which indicate past climate. For a given location, rock types change as environments/climate change over time.
  • For a more in-depth exploration, especially with more advanced students, see Earth Exploration Toolkit activity: http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/cores/index.html

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The teacher guide, leader notes in this case, for all the Andrill activities is housed at a separate site: http://www.andrill.org/flexhibit/flexhibit/materials/activities/Leader_Notes.pdf.
  • Students should have no problem following the clear and well-written directions.
  • Teachers may wish to visit the ANDRILL web site for additional background information about the research and Antarctica's climate history.

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

Download and read the Leader Notes for the full suite of Flexibit activities at http://www.andrill.org/flexhibit/flexhibit/materials/activities/Leader_Notes.pdf

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Performance Expectations: 1

MS-ESS1-4: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-ESS2.A2:The planet’s systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth’s history and will determine its future.

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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Systems and System Models, Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C4.2: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.

MS-C7.1: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales, including the atomic scale.

MS-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Science and Engineering Practices: 7

Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

MS-P2.4:Develop and/or revise a model to show the relationships among variables, including those that are not observable but predict observable phenomena.

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-P4.4: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-P6.2:Construct an explanation using models or representations.

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-P8.5:Communicate scientific and/or technical information (e.g. about a proposed object, tool, process, system) in writing and/or through oral presentations.

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