In this unit, students explore how scientists study climates of the past by modelling their methods through inquiry activities and investigating real data. The lessons address the difference between weather and climate, direct and indirect evidence of climate change, and natural indicators of climate such as tree rings. They will also examine what conditions were like in the 'Little Ice Age', a period of unusually cool conditions that occurred between 1300 and 1850 A.D. A lesson on glaciers uses imagery to show how they respond to climate change, and a lesson on sunspots uses real data to show the connection between sunspot activity and terrestrial climate. There is also a lesson on the effect of volcanism on climate and a summary activity that brings together all these concepts to draw conclusions about possible natural causes of climate change.
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