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This video shows where and how ice cores are extracted from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The cores are cut, packaged, flown to the ice core storage facility in Denver, further sliced into samples, and shipped to labs all over the world where scientists use them to study indicators of climate change from the past.

Video length is 19 min 29 sec.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

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

  • Because the video is long (19 min) and has a great deal of information, teachers may want to use it in chunks.

About the Science

  • Dr. Kendrick Taylor of the Desert Research Institute and Chief Scientist for the WAIS Divide Ice Core project narrates the video. He takes viewers on a tour around the camp, discusses the process by which ice cores are drilled and extracted from the ice sheet, and explains the importance of ice cores in the overall understanding of Earth's climate history and current climate change. The greenhouse effect and climate models are discussed within the context of ice core data.
  • At the very beginning of the video, scientist refers to heating of the inside of the vehicle cab as an example of the greenhouse effect. This is an oft-used but not a good analogy for the greenhouse effect. The reason for heating a car is due to lack of convection and the heating due to the greenhouse effect is based on absorption and reemission of Earth's infrared energy by greenhouse gases.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It takes students into the places where the research is conducted. It deals with two of the main tools of climate research: paleoclimate data and climate models. It is interesting without pandering to short attention spans.

About the Pedagogy

  • KQED has developed curricula materials to go along with this video, but they are simply watch and answer questions and thus do not represent best pedagogical practice. Nonetheless, these materials are still helpful.
  • The video is full of information that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, the video can be the basis of a flipped lesson with some of the better questions culled from the KQED lesson or new ones written by the teacher.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:


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