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Reading Antarctica's Rock Cores

LuAnn Dahlman, Andrill

In this activity, students learn about the tools and methods paleoclimatologists use to reconstruct past climates. In constructing sediment cores themselves, students will achieve a very good understanding of the sedimentological interpretation of past climates that scientists can draw from cores.

Activity takes three to four 45-minute class periods with some outside prep and time for exhibit. 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, 7 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
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations
Other materials addressing:
G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:B) Designing investigations
Other materials addressing:
B) Designing investigations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
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.

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

  • After completing this activity, students will be ready for an in-depth discussion about climate of the past and research methods.
  • These hands-on activities are part of a unit of similar active-learning activities. Teachers should familiarize themselves with those that come before or after.

About the Science

  • Students build models of ice cores and sediment cores to learn about the tools and methods paleoclimatologists use to reconstruct the climate of the past. In constructing sediment cores themselves, students will achieve a very good understanding of the sedimentological interpretations that scientists can draw from a core.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Hands-on activities will engage students of different learning styles.
  • Activities are part of the ANDRILL flexhibit series, which aim at getting students to present the model to others. This can be slightly modified to apply to a general classroom.
  • Nicely scaffolded going from simpler concepts to more sophisticated.
  • Very easy-to-follow procedures.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • PDF is designed to be printed double-sided; this explains the blank pages throughout the activity.

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 Flexhibit 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-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.

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: 7

Systems and System Models, Structure and Function, Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity

MS-C1.2: Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural and human designed systems

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

MS-C3.2: The observed function of natural and designed systems may change with scale.

MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

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-C6.1:Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts; therefore, complex natural and designed structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 7

Developing and Using Models, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

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

MS-P1.4:Ask questions to clarify and/or refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.

MS-P2.5:Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.

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

MS-P6.4:Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real- world phenomena, examples, or events.

MS-P7.3:Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.

MS-P8.2:Integrate qualitative and/or quantitative scientific and/or technical information in written text with that contained in media and visual displays to clarify claims and findings.

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