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Global Warming Threatens Caribou

National Film Board of Canada, WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

This video segment depicts how climate change is impacting the migration of Canada's barren-ground caribou. Changes in the plant community and tree lines will change the prime habitat for some herds of caribou. Caribou are faced with adapting to these barrens shrinking, often with serious consequences.

Video length: 4:56 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

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

  • Adapted from Arctic Mission: Lords of the Arctic, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Students could be encouraged, as a result of this video segment, to explore other animals faced with climate change-induced habitat challenges and plot them out on a map to see where climate change is having an impact and on what kinds of animals.

About the Science

  • Video is about impact of climate change on the migration of Canada's barren-ground caribou. Caribou migration routes are typically determined by weather factors. However as global warming continues, traditional migration timings and pathways are leading more and more caribou to their death.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Background information, discussion questions, and alignment with standards are provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Has closed-captioned text. Audio was not in sync with video. Text and bilingual approach good. Video slightly pixellated.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-LS2.C1:Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

MS-LS2.C2:Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth’s terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health

MS-LS4.D1:Changes in biodiversity can influence humans’ resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely on—for example, water purification and recycling.

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.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

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-ESS3.C1:The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

HS-LS2.C1:A complex set of interactions within an ecosystem can keep its numbers and types of organisms relatively constant over long periods of time under stable conditions. If a modest biological or physical disturbance to an ecosystem occurs, it may return to its more or less original status (i.e., the ecosystem is resilient), as opposed to becoming a very different ecosystem. Extreme fluctuations in conditions or the size of any population, however, can challenge the functioning of ecosystems in terms of resources and habitat availability.

HS-LS2.C2:Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species.

HS-LS4.D2:Biodiversity is increased by the formation of new species (speciation) and decreased by the loss of species (extinction).

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