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The Polaris Project: Permafrost
http://www.thepolarisproject.org/multimedia/videos/permafrost/

The Polaris Project, Chris Linder Photography

In this video from the Polaris Project Website, American and Siberian university students participating in the project describe their research on permafrost.

Video length: 4:58 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: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Biosphere drives the global carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3e
Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4e
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

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

  • This video can be used in any lesson on permafrost and the carbon cycle.
  • Preview vocabulary for younger students.
  • Locate area on map or computer.

About the Science

  • "In our experiment, we are focusing on how permafrost qualities change over both space and time. First, we are comparing how the active layer differs across different landscapes, including lowlands, ridges, and tundra. Second, we are comparing the composition of the three permafrost layers to determine if there have been changes in organic matter over time. Finally, we are examining a potential connection between the active layer and water by testing what and how many nutrients are 'picked up' by water passing through the active layer."
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video is very effective at portraying field work in a remote and challenging environment. The narrative effectively provides a human element to the science. The importance of the study, or reason why people are looking at thawing permafrost is never explicitly stated.

About the Pedagogy

  • Video is narrated by the university students who are conducting the research; some text provided. Unusual opportunity for students to see other students conducting research in the field in Siberia.
  • Polaris Website includes a variety of multimedia resources about the project, the students who participate, and the research they conduct in Siberia. https://www.thepolarisproject.org

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent video quality

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

MS-PS3.D2:Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.

MS-LS1.C1:Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use.

MS-ESS2.A1:All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet’s systems. This energy is derived from the sun and Earth’s hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth’s materials and living organisms.

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.

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: 6

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

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-PS3.D2:The main way that solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis.

HS-LS1.C1:The process of photosynthesis converts light energy to stored chemical energy by converting carbon dioxide plus water into sugars plus released oxygen.

HS-LS1.C4:As a result of these chemical reactions, energy is transferred from one system of interacting molecules to another. Cellular respiration is a chemical process in which the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and new compounds are formed that can transport energy to muscles. Cellular respiration also releases the energy needed to maintain body temperature despite ongoing energy transfer to the surrounding environment.


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