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Getting the Picture - A climate education resource

Earth Vision Institute

This is a multi-media teaching tool to learn about climate change. The tool is comprised of stills, video clips, graphic representations, and explanatory text about climate science. Acclaimed photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice team put this teaching tool together.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 10 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

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

  • Has potential to be used as a differentiating class lesson on climate for more accelerated students. Can be used for students who miss extended periods of time due to illness.
  • The resource contains a lot of really important information. Could be used as a guide to entire unit on climate change or the chapters could be broken apart into single lessons.
  • There are no guided questions, however the information is set up in such a way that with an outside guide, students could easily engage in independent exploration and inquiry.
  • Package could be used to supplement more in-depth examination of climate change evidence and impacts.

About the Science

  • Uses an interdisciplinary approach to teaching climate science through a variety of multimedia tools covering topical studies such as history, economics, geography, art, and social studies.
  • Covers a wide range of topics related to climate change including the atmosphere and warming temperatures, how these warming temperatures affect water, and how these changes are affecting life on earth (human and otherwise).
  • Connects key climate change concepts to to real-world arctic Extreme Ice Survey project for each chapter.
  • Resource emerged from the work of the Extreme Ice Survey photography project initiated by James Balog in 2007.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - plethora of information on climate change effects on the cryosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere

About the Pedagogy

  • Resource is a media-rich online textbook about climate science. Still and video photography is stunning; text is basic. No mechanism is provided for students to interact with the content.
  • The resource provides a wealth of information and breaks down several complex and related processes in to step-by-step and straight forward explanations with several multimedia tools (i.e. photos, videos, real-world stories).
  • Excellent glossary of terms provided.
  • Includes extensions and outside resources for students and educators for each chapter of the module.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easily viewed on personal computers, laptops, and tablets.
  • Many of the embedded videos need to be viewed in a different tab/window on Vimeo.
  • Visual quality excellent. Brief video offers a walk-through of the resource.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

MS-ESS2.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.

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-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

MS-ESS3.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 10

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

HS-ESS2.A3:The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.

HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

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-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

HS-LS4.D1:Humans depend on the living world for the resources and other benefits provided by biodiversity. But human activity is also having adverse impacts on biodiversity through overpopulation, overexploitation, habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. Thus sustaining biodiversity so that ecosystem functioning and productivity are maintained is essential to supporting and enhancing life on Earth. Sustaining biodiversity also aids humanity by preserving landscapes of recreational or inspirational value.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

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