Jump to this Video »
Diatoms Measure Climate Change

WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

This video segment, adapted from NOVA, examines one method scientists use to understand ancient climate conditions in Africa.

Video length: 1:56 minutes.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

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.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

  • The resource includes extensive teaching tips on its webpage.
  • Video can be used as a hook at the beginning of a lesson about paleoclimatology but should not be used to illustrate the science of diatoms.

About the Science

  • To test the idea that eastern Africa had undergone rapid swings in climate - from wet to dry to wet again - over a period that began 10 million years ago, German scientists study fossils of tiny one-celled aquatic organisms called diatoms.
  • The layers of diatom fossils in eastern African rock formations suggest that this part of Africa experienced wet and dry periods over time, supporting a new idea that climatic variability may have shaped human evolution.

About the Pedagogy

  • The short video gives a good example of how scientists use fossil evidence to develop climate reconstruction for a region.
  • The video includes a background essay, discussion questions, teaching tips and connections to standards.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The video is not of sufficient resolution for classroom projection. Students might want to watch it individually on their computers. It can be download through free registration with Teachers' Domain.

Jump to this Video »

Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion

Log in to reply