Anne Gold, Karin Kirk, CIRES Education and Outreach; University of Colorado Boulder
Activity takes about three to four 50-minute class periods. Additional materials are needed for the hands-on activities.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 8 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 2f
Other materials addressing 3a
Other materials addressing 4b
Other materials addressing 4c
Other materials addressing 5b
2.3 Earth's climate driven by the Sun.
3.5 Ecosystems are affected by availability of energy..
Notes From Our Reviewers
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Much of the lesson can be done on the computer, but some can be printed out for reading offline.
- Familiarity is needed with Google Earth and should already be available on student computers for in-class lessons or assigned to take home.
- Students may need help in plotting graphical information in Excel.
- Download Teaching Tips before you begin the activity series. See http://cires.colorado.edu/education-outreach/resources/curriculum/arctic-climate-connections/
About the Science
- A good introduction to the Arctic and the differences between it and lower latitudes: light, vegetation, climate. Also good for working with weather and climate as activity has students gathering local information on soil temperature, albedo, and humidity.
- Comments from expert scientist: Comprehensive Arctic Climate educational tool with extensive material, activities (with numerous extensions), data and ideas. My only criticism is that it is so ambitious and comprehensive that it takes a little while to get situated and figure out exactly what this material encompasses.
About the Pedagogy
- Students are introduced to the Arctic through vegetation data, native population information, and Arctic research stations (IASOA). They explore the station sites through Google Earth and then gather local data on their own of albedo, relative humidity, and soil temperature. Students can then consider what their data tells them about where they live and how it might be different or important to study in the Arctic.
- Uses a series of multimedia resources as well as science data that students both collect and analyze.
- There are two more Arctic Climate Activities that can be used in combination with this resource.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Teacher notes are clear with instructions and student handouts, along with links to articles and information that can be read online or possibly printed out for classroom use.
- Instructions for using Google Earth are included.
- Complete answer key is available to teachers per email request.
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Performance Expectations: 1
MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4
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-LS2.A1:Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors.
MS-LS2.A3:Growth of organisms and population increases are limited by access to resources.
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.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 5
MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.
MS-C3.2: The observed function of natural and designed systems may change with scale.
MS-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
MS-C7.4:Systems in dynamic equilibrium are stable due to a balance of feedback mechanisms.
Science and Engineering Practices: 8
MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.
MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.
MS-P4.3: Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships in data.
MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
MS-P5.1: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends.
MS-P6.3:Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
MS-P6.5:Apply scientific reasoning to show why the data or evidence is adequate for the explanation or conclusion
MS-P8.1:Critically read scientific texts adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas and/or obtain scientific and/or technical information to describe patterns in and/or evidence about the natural and designed world(s).
Performance Expectations: 2
HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
HS-LS2-6: Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2
HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.
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.
Cross Cutting Concepts: 5
HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.
HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.
HS-C3.2: Some systems can only be studied indirectly as they are too small, too large, too fast, or too slow to observe directly.
HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.
HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.
Science and Engineering Practices: 4
HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
HS-P6.4:Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.
HS-P8.1:Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.