Jump to this Activity »
Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 3: Exploring Arctic Climate Data

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

In this activity, students use authentic Arctic climate data to unravel some causes and effects related to the seasonal melting of the snowpack and to further understand albedo.

Activities takes about two 50-minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Energy Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Energy Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

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

  • Activity will work well for learning about seasons, especially those of the Arctic, which differ greatly from seasons students in temperate or tropical regions would be familiar with.
  • Activity introduces positive feedback loops and does a good job of explaining that 'positive' in this usage doesn't equate with 'good', but teachers may want to reinforce this concept.

About the Content

  • Activity addresses albedo and the connection with solar radiation, snow and melting, and positive feedbacks.
  • Students work with actual scientific data and are guided through the interpretation of the data.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    Great activity!
    - asking students to sketch their idea of albedo is a great way for them to really conceptualize
    - working with Excel data and plots
    - explains very clearly the definition of albedo and how it is measured
    - there are lots of supporting materials to guide teachers

    - w/m^2 should be W/m^2 (Capital 'w')
    - In my experience teaching albedo I had to often remind students that "shortwave" is the same as "solar" radiation

About the Pedagogy

  • Students use the variety of data and graphs in the lesson to extrapolate connections among temperature, snowpack, and albedo in an Arctic year.
  • Makes good use of Excel and provides clear explanations for students to build graphs from the given data.
  • Good for teaching graphing, using provided Excel data, reading finished graphs, and for extrapolating connections among different sets of related data.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • With frequent changes to Excel, be sure to try the directions before assigning to students.
  • Students will need computer access to Excel to create graphs and see the data provided for use in the lesson.
  • There are some discrepancies in some of the data, which is explained in the teacher guide.
  • Teachers who use Google Sheets instead of Excel will need to adapt the activity.

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

The following address links to the whole curriculum: http://cires.colorado.edu/education-outreach/resources/curriculum/arctic-climate-connections/
Entered the Collection: May 2018 Last Reviewed: May 2015

Jump to this Activity »