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Looking at Data: "Sea" Ice

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Beth Ellen Simmons Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research Program
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This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

In this study, you will be hypothesizing and examining the relationship between the seasonal fluctuations in Antarctic climate and the annual advance and retreat of sea ice. Completing this activity reinforces effective critical-thinking processes, collaborative-learning skills and assists students in constructing knowledge-for-transfer
GSA Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 386kB Oct31 03)

Learning Goals

Content/Concepts:

Higher Order Thinking Skills:

This lesson will reinforce students ability to
Recall previously learned material
Explain, Summarize and Predict
Interpret graphs and tables
Evaluate the relevancy of the data being used
Recognize patterns
Practice deductive reasoning skills
Evaluate multiple perspectives

Other Skills:

Practicing authentic problem solving, implementing science-inquiry skills, data collection, developing a hypothesis, analyzing data, writing a conclusion, and clarifying how limited context and/or simplifying assumptions lead to misunderstandings of scientific knowledge.

Context

Instructional Level:

Instructional Level = 9 - 14

Skills Needed:

Varying levels of success can be achieved by implementing this module depending on the students' prior knowledge of the following concepts:
· differences between climate/weather
· relationship between climate and the atmosphere
· geography/location of Antarctica
· effects of large bodies of water on climate
· differences between ice flows and glaciers
· how scientists measure ice

Role of Activity in a Course:

These activities could be situated within a course of study that emphasizes graphing, experimental design (like developing a hypothesis) or inquiry-based science. Once the four phases of data inquiry are applied, the development of the authentic tasks is implemented. I have suggested an outline below on how, Looking at data - "Sea" Ice might be used within a course of study to reinforce and review concepts and benchmarks.

Data, Tools and Logistics

Required Tools:

Graph paper, rulers, pencils are all that are necessary to comlete this activity. (Computers can be used to deepen the student's background knowledge on Antarctica.

Logistical Challenges:

An understanding of the implementation of inquiry-based science and the effective use of data-sets within a classroom. Students may have difficulty graphing. Students (grades 9 - 12) may have trouble analyzing and interpreting graphs. There may be a variation in the student's ability to write about their findings. Students' prior knowledge on Antarctica may need to be clarified. Other learning strategies may need to be implemented to encourage the complex interactions between the learner, the knowledge within the lesson, and the skills required for this lesson.

Evaluation

Evaluation Goals:

does the student have prior knowledge of the relationship between Antarctic climate and the advance and retreat of sea ice? Can the student make a prediction and provide support? Did the student correctly graph, and diplay the data? How well can students draw conclusions on what they've learned?

Evaluation Techniques:

There are varying forms of assessment throughout the implementation of this unit. Portfolio's, journal writing, quizzes, all assess the success of the learner in the lessons leading up to the culminating event. This event will take the form of a case study in the Antarctic and be assessed by using a rubric.

Description

Activity Description: A distinguishing characteristic of Antarctic marine ecology is sea ice. Data collected from diverse sources and using a variety of methods such as satellite remote sensing, and ship-based sampling grids along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. These measurements allow scientists to estimate the annual amount of sea ice. Such long-term observations and research, show sea ice changes over space and time. (Stammerjohn and Smith, 1996). Therefore, hypothesizing about the variability of sea ice could eventually lead to understanding some of the major changes that occur in the structure and function of the Antarctic marine ecosystem. (Smith et al., 1988b)

In this study, you will be hypothesizing and examining the relationship between the seasonal fluctuations in Antarctic climate and the annual advance and retreat of sea ice. This relationship is the result of twenty years of monthly ice and temperature averages collected in the western Antarctic Peninsula region. There are a number of testable hypotheses that link climate and sea ice to the development and success of the entire ecosystem. Some of these effects include, but are not limited to, the seasonal primary production rate of plankton, krill abundance and distribution, and the survivorship of some apex predators. Completing this activity reinforces effective critical-thinking processes, collaborative-learning skills and assists students in constructing knowledge-for-transfer.