Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 2: Do you really want to visit the Arctic?
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Read and interpret Arctic data graphs.
- Articulate seasonal weather patterns in Arctic datasets.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Synthesize data from four different datasets to gain a sense for the overall weather conditions throughout the year.
- Determine the optimal time to visit the Arctic, from the point of view various roles.
- Create a measurable definition for "winter."
- Compare Arctic weather to weather in their hometowns.
Other skills goals for this activity
- Role playing: Students consider a collection of weather data from multiple points of view. For example, what would be the best conditions for conducting research on wildflowers, compared to observing and photographing the night sky?
Description of the activity/assignment
The main portion of this curriculum is a jigsaw activity that uses datasets for air temperature, wind speed, snow depth, and incoming solar radiation. Students form 'Research Groups' to learn about their assigned weather parameter and to work from a graph to describe how their parameter varies through the year.
Then the groups recombine and form 'Research Teams.' Each team is assigned a different purpose for visiting the Arctic.
Research Team 1 – Testing a fat-tired bicycle for travel across a snowy surface for field researchThe Research Teams consider each weather parameter to come up with a synthesis of the overall weather in Eureka, then decide when the best time for a trip would be. Because each team has a different role to play, they will come up with different answers.
Research Team 2 – Collecting seeds from Arctic wildflowers
Research Team 3 – Astronomy research and photographing the night sky
Research Team 4 – Annual visit to maintain meteorological instruments at the research station.
Lastly, students work individually to consider whether they, personally, would want to visit the Arctic. They go on to describe how the Arctic weather, particularly the winter, differs from their own hometown.An optional follow-on activity involves a group project to create an infographic that illustrates the weather in Eureka.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Teaching materials and tips
- All of the materials needed to teach this activity are hosted on the CIRES Arctic Climate Curriculum website. Here you will find a teacher's guide, solution set, student worksheets, supporting graphics, datasets and graphs. There is also a video presentation by the research scientists who are currently engaged in the scientific mission upon which these activities are based.
- Arctic Climate Curriculum Overview (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 4.2MB Apr28 14) This document contains an outline of all three parts of the curriculum, describes the rationale behind curriculum development and alignment with Next Generation Science Standards and Colorado Science Standards, and contains a list of all the teaching materials that were developed for this project.
- Anne U. Gold, Karin Kirk, Deb Morrison, Susan Lynds, Susan Buhr Sullivan, Andrey Grachev & Ola Persson (2015) Arctic Climate Connections Curriculum: A Model for Bringing Authentic Data Into the Classroom, Journal of Geoscience Education, 63:3, 185-197, DOI: 10.5408/14-030.1