Cutting Edge > Data, Simulations and Models > Teaching Ideas > Sea Ice, Greenland, and Climate

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.

Sea Ice, Greenland, and Climate

Walt Meier, Lynn Blaney, and Bruce Caron
Topic:Impact of melting sea ice on climate
Course Type: Middle school


Start with informal quiz on misconceptions - where do penguins live, South Pole elevation and precipitation.

Use polar exploration as a hook - failure then, success now. How changes have allowed more chance at success now. Link to Russian icebreaker that takes tourists to North Pole. Northwest Passage - Franklin vs. Amundsen, different approaches. Also study Int'l Polar Year - previous IPY/IGY, impacts on science and society.

Greenland is another possibility - melt, sea level rise, impacts on native peoples.


Learn about polar exploration and how climate change has changed the environment and how it impacts exploration. Then discuss how it impacts plants, animal, people and climate. Inuit people's viewpoint: NSIDC "When the Weather is Uggianaqtuq"

How Greenland is changing, impacts on sea level? Lab experiment - pancake batter on paper plate with notches - how many notches and how big the notches are defines how fast the batter (Greenland) drains.


Look at impact strand of sea ice melt and see how well students have supported conclusions with data.

References (more info) (more info)

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