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Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 2: Do you really want to visit the Arctic?

Karin Kirk, Anne Gold, CIRES Education and Outreach; University of Colorado Boulder

In this jigsaw activity, students explore meteorological data collected from Eureka, Canada to try to decide when would be the best time for an Arctic visit.

Activity takes about two 50-minute class periods.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Consider doing Activity 1 of the series prior to this one to introduce students to the Arctic.
  • Educator may have to help explain some misunderstandings about the nature of the Arctic that may come from students unfamiliar with the differences in seasons there compared to the mid-latitudes.

About the Science

  • This activity gets students to consider what it would mean to travel to the Arctic, basing their choice on what time of the year to visit by exploring data on monthly wind speed, temperature, snow pack, and solar radiation. Students have to think how the Arctic is different from their local region, how seasons might be determined in the Arctic, and consider what causes the changes in wind, snow, temperature and sunlight. Students are encouraged to form a measurable definition of winter.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It is an interesting, engaging activity, that puts students in the position of researchers working on various projects in Canada. They learn to read and interpret graphs of weather data. This particular activity seems to focus on weather rather than climate. Climate data rather than 1 year of weather data could be used for the same purpose without the need for major alterations. Alternatively it should be ensured that the students understand the difference between climate and weather. The activity focuses on one land based research site. I would suggest that it is possible to use data from different sites

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity is the second activity of a three-part instructional sequence.
  • Uses jigsaw approach: groups of students research one of 4 climate indicators (wind speed, surface temperature, snow depth, incoming solar radiation) at a location in the Arctic, then regroup with others to decide optimal time of year to visit this site based on a particular research question for which they need to collect data at the site.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Educators are provided a basic guide online.
  • Complete answer key is available to teachers per email request.

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

Use this url to go to the full curriculum: http://cires.colorado.edu/education-outreach/resources/curriculum/arctic-climate-connections/.
Entered the Collection: May 2015 Last Reviewed: May 2015

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