Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 3: Exploring Arctic Climate Data
Karin Kirk, Anne Gold, CIRES Education Outreach; University of Colorado Boulder
Activities takes about two 50-minute class periods.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts, 6 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- 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 Science
- 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:
- 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.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
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.