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Change at the Top of the World

Charles Annenberg Weingarten, Tom Pollock, Roger Jackson, Liz Marks, explore.org

This beautifully filmed and produced video describes the changes that global warming is already bringing to Northern Canada and Greenland. Local people describe changes to ecosystems, impacts on culture and life styles, and the challenges of melting permafrost. Ship captains describe changes in navigational channels and fjords. Scientists describe changes in albedo and permafrost, as well as increased pollution transported from outside the Arctic (the Grasshopper effect).

Video length is 24:06 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 8 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4f
Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6c
Evidence shows that human-caused global warming have impacted ecosystem resulting in reduced biodiversity and ecological resilience
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6d
Human health and well-being will be affected to different degrees from the impacts from climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7f

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

  • While this is a long video (>24 minutes), educators will find it useful in conveying the human dimensions of climate change.
  • Teachers could break the video into chunks and conduct class discussions.

About the Science

  • Both anecdotal and expert evidence is given.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video beautifully reveals some startling facts of rapidly changing climatic conditions of the Arctic and its direct effect on the local human population, the Inuits of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. The presence of inhabitants and the large watermass (Arctic Ocean) at the north polar region and makes the place even more sensitive to climate change as compared to its southern counterpart the Antarctica.

About the Pedagogy

  • This video is unique in that it uses an interdisciplinary approach to describe how climate change is impacting oceans, land, ecosystems, and cultures. Scientists and native people's perspectives are presented in a seamless manner.
  • There are discussion questions, and background material are at http://files.explore.org/files/explore-LP_Arctic-Science_.pdf. There are also some background links on the webpage with the video.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This is both a beautiful and disturbing video. It uses maps effectively to show where the host and speakers are.
  • Requires a login to download video.
  • The audio was somewhat quiet in places.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN


Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 8

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.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.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.

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: 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-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.

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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