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Shrinking Glaciers: A Chronology of Climate Change

American Museum of Natural History

This video features scientists in New Zealand's Southern Alps, examining samples from the rocky landscape once dominated by glaciers. Their research, combined with other climate records, has revealed a link between glacial retreat and rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air.

Video length is 8:12 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 1 Science and Engineering Practice
High School: 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Global warming and especially arctic warming is recorded in natural geological and historic records
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4e
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Energy Literacy

Earth is constantly changing as energy flows through the system.
Other materials addressing:
2.1 Changes in energy flow over time.

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

  • Educators may want to explore the other Science Bulletin videos on this AMNH page.

About the Science

  • The scientists featured in video use a new technique called surface exposure dating, which uses chemical analysis to determine how long minerals within rocks have been exposed to the air since the glaciers around them melted.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Really cool look into how field work and lab work operates!
    Scientific strengths:
    - Describes the methodology behind surface exposure dating: Cosmic rays reach the quartz on a rock, the rays breaks apart the silica and oxygen to produce beryllium 10, the rock is analytically sampled for a time in which it was exposed to the atmosphere, thus melting off the glacier.
    - The scientists are then able to compare glacier melting with CO2 levels increasing

About the Pedagogy

  • Video shows scientists in the lab and doing field work.
  • Link to Classroom Discussion Activity is provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Related links to sources for background reading are provided.
  • Good graphics and easy-to-understand discussion by scientists.
  • Video can be watched online or downloaded.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

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.

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

High School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Cause and effect

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

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