Lab 6: Future of the Cryosphere

The lab activity described here was developed by Erin Bardar and Sarah Hill of TERC and Betsy Youngman for the EarthLabs project.

Summary and Learning Objectives

In this culminating activity, students will contemplate what the future might hold for climate and the cryosphere. In the first part of the lab, they will learn about what climate models predict Earth's climate will be like in the future. In Part B, they will consider potential changes in sea level that might be brought about by warming temperatures and melting ice.

After completing this investigation, students will be able to:

  • explain what climate models predict for the future of the cryosphere
  • describe potential impacts on life as a result of predicted future changes to the cryosphere
  • explain how the cryosphere is an important indicator of global climate change

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Overview and Teaching Materials

Detailed overview of what students will do in each lab activity, how long it will take, and what materials are required to complete the lab.

Printable Materials

Download and print files needed for each lab activity, including images, data tables, and Stop and Think questions.

Teaching Notes and Tips

General recommendations for classroom implementation as well as guidelines and facilitation tips for leading class discussions.

Student Notebooks

Suggestions for how to use Student Notebooks for Lab 6.


There are several options for assessment of student understanding of material introduced in this lab. Choose from the following list, or create your own assessments.

Science Standards

Lab 6 supports the following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

Additional Resources

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