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Field Research on Glacial Change
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ttv10.sci.ess.earthsys.fieldresearch/

ThinkTV, Teachers' Domain

This video describes how field research -- in this case, making water measurements in rugged mountain locations -- helps us to understand the complex relationships among changing climate, populations, and water usage.

Video length: 4:50 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

  • Educators can use this resource to help students understand the process that scientists go through to develop a method of taking measurements to obtain useful scientific data that can help answer their research questions.

About the Science

  • A key issue that the scientists solve in this video is how to distinguish glacier-produced water from surface runoff and ground water.
  • The research project is ultimately focused on protecting the water supply of communities served by the glacier.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It provides a reasonable overview of the concepts of glacier mass balance and hydrological regimes, although the accompanying text does a better job of explaining this than the video itself. The video is titled as being about 'Field Research on Glacial Change', but it doesn't really address this topic. Instead it shows a couple of professors doing basic measurements of water temperatures. It's not clear how this relates to glacial change, and I have some concerns about the scientific methods that they are using.

About the Pedagogy

  • As with many of the Teacher Domain resources, the video segment is accompanied by background information, discussion questions, and teaching tips.
  • The video is useful for showing how scientists work in the field to conduct research and collect data.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easily available in several formats for viewing. The image is pixilated when viewing online in full screen mode, so the quality is too poor for projection.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

MS-ESS2.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.

MS-ESS2.C3:Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.

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.

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

MS-ESS3.C2:Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

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.


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