Ice Ages and Climate Dynamics

Initial Publication Date: June 5, 2013


Discuss the causes of ice ages on Earth and determine if Mars experiences similar climate dynamics as Earth.

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Learning Goals

  • Observe ice ages through time and provide explanations for icehouse/greenhouse periods.
  • Determine if Mars goes through similar Earth climate change
  • Distinguish between different drivers of climate change at different scales
  • Form an informed opinion regarding global warming

Context for Use

It is advisable that students are familiar with basic lithology and mineralogy to be successful in these activities and homework sets. This learning module may be utilized in any course where global warming and climate change are discussed.

Description and Teaching Materials

Compiled In-Class Activities and Homework

In-Class Activity


Teaching Notes and Tips

  • The In-Class activities do not need an image file
    • Infuse data from
    • Students can make graphs of change over time, focus on a specific region, compare Arctic and Antarctic, etc.....
    • They can also compare Earth's poles to Mars poles OR evidence of ice on both planets
  • It is advisable that students understand that Mars' axial tilt can change prior to completing Homework 1. This will enable students to properly evaluate the affect of Milankovitch cycles on Mars climate.


Methods of assessment are within each individual In-Class Activity and Homework.

References and Resources

  1. Paleogeography through time YouTube video:
  2. Iceland glacier retreat captured by the Extreme Ice Survey:
  3. Extreme Ice Survey website: