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Climate Change on the Antarctic Peninsula
http://www.units.muohio.edu/cryolab/education/documents/PenguinLesson_Constible.pdf

Juanita Constible, Luke Sandro, Richard E. Lee Jr., M.U. Ohio and Seen in The NSTA Science Teacher magazine

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In this activity about climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula, learners investigate environmental changes in the living and nonliving resources of Antarctic peninsula and the impact of these changes on Adélie penguin communities. The activity stresses the importance of evidence in the formulation of scientific explanations.

Activity takes about 2 class periods (2-3 hours).

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts, 8 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate's role in habitats ranges and adaptation of species to climate changes
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Life affects climate; climate affects life
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Life affects climate; climate affects life
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

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
Other materials addressing:
A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
Other materials addressing:
C) Systems and 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

  • Consult text for several different strategies for shortening this lesson
  • Additional format for lesson available at NSTA Science Teacher Magazine 2007.
  • To supplement the Adélie penguin data set in the lesson, educator could add http://oceantoday.noaa.gov/adeliepenguins video.

About the Science

  • The activity stresses the importance of evidence in the formulation of scientific explanations.
  • Students investigate the ecological evidence/data sets (temperature data, numbers of breeding pairs of Adélie penguins, sea ice, precipitation, and krill densities) surrounding the decline in breeding successes of Adélie penguins along the western Antarctic peninsula.
  • Data provided is from a credible source.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity illustrates the interconnected nature of modern science requiring students to think about ocean, atmosphere, and biological processes.
  • The link between the role of increased cloud condensation nuclei (due to reduced sea ice) and increased precipitation is not correct.

About the Pedagogy

  • Uses a cooperative learning technique called a jigsaw.
  • Background information for teachers is concise and accurate.
  • A second version, printed in the NSTA's Science Teacher 2007, is a more polished version of this lesson, but it is not available online.
  • Engaging format for students with a basic assessment component. Data analysis and the nature of science are emphasized within the lesson, familiarizing students with how scientists work.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Student materials are well done.
  • Student materials are provided along with basic data sets and are well done.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

HS-LS2-2: Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

HS-LS2.C1:A complex set of interactions within an ecosystem can keep its numbers and types of organisms relatively constant over long periods of time under stable conditions. If a modest biological or physical disturbance to an ecosystem occurs, it may return to its more or less original status (i.e., the ecosystem is resilient), as opposed to becoming a very different ecosystem. Extreme fluctuations in conditions or the size of any population, however, can challenge the functioning of ecosystems in terms of resources and habitat availability.

HS-LS2.C2:Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 7

Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity, Energy and Matter, Stability and Change

HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C3.1:The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs.

HS-C3.5:Algebraic thinking is used to examine scientific data and predict the effect of a change in one variable on another (e.g., linear growth vs. exponential growth).

HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 8

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P1.1:ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P3.5:Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.

HS-P4.2:Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.

HS-P4.4:Compare and contrast various types of data sets (e.g., self-generated, archival) to examine consistency of measurements and observations.

HS-P5.3:Apply techniques of algebra and functions to represent and solve scientific and engineering problems.

HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) 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.

HS-P7.3:Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence, challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining additional information required to resolve contradictions.

HS-P8.2:Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.


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