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Changing Planet: Permafrost Gas Leak
http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/permafrost_gas_leak.html&edu=high

Missy Holzer, Jennifer Bergman, Roberta Johnson, NESTA/Windows to the Universe

This is a multi-faceted activity that offers students a variety of opportunities to learn about permafrost through an important sink and source of greenhouse gas (methane), about which most students living in lower latitudes know little.

Activity takes about four 45 min lessons (3-part activity and 30 min discussion).

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The interconnectedness of Earth’s systems means that a significant change in any one component of the climate system can influence the equilibrium of the entire Earth system. Positive feedback loops can amplify these effects and trigger abrupt changes in the climate system. These complex interactions may result in climate change that is more rapid and on a larger scale than projected by current climate models.
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Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
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E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
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D) Flow of matter and energy.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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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 will need to familiarize themselves with websites associated with the various parts of the activity ahead of time, in addition to the worksheets and various data sets.

About the Science

  • As permafrost thaws, the land, atmosphere, water resources, ecosystems, and human communities are affected.
  • Background and data sources are National Snow and Ice Data Center and the U of Alaska, Fairbanks.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The activity sheet and teacher reference do not have much information themselves, and instead refers students to websites with a strong reputation such as the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, NOAA and Arctic Portal. In terms of handling, exploring and displaying primary data, this activity is excellent.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity can be done in parts or as a whole; components include a video, background reading, demos, map analysis, and borehole data analysis.
  • Students learn about composition of permafrost, identify the spatial distribution of permafrost, interpret borehole data and recognize trends in data, and analyze methane data and correlate it to the permafrost data.
  • There are a lot of support materials for teachers, including multiple suggestions for extensions.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • A number of links to data sources and tools: accessing websites for data - The Arctic Portal Mapping tool, Permafrost Laboratory Site, and the Google Earth files on the NSIDC site.

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