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Melting Ice

Secondary, Middle

Description

This activity explores the effect of melting ice on global systems. The lesson begins with the class viewing of a video designed to promote discussion on both the local and global effects of climate change. The class then divides into small groups for inquiry activities that include an experiment with melting ice and research into specific impacts. After completing the activities, groups present their findings to the entire class.

Seventeen videos, interactive exercises and audio files support the lesson and an outline is provided to support the melting ice experiment. Links offer opportunities for more in-depth research by advanced groups. Instructions to the teacher and guiding questions to promote discussion are included.

 

General Assessment

Strengths

Excellent video and audio clips and interactive graphics are a key part of  the resource.  These provide a great source of background information, help clarify understanding and engage the learner.

Students are asked to consider why they should care if sea levels rise.

Excellent discussion questions leading students to consider why they should care.

Weaknesses

It would be helpful if the teacher was provided with some assessment ideas in addition to the guiding questions that are made available.  For example, a rubric which would help the teacher evaluate poster presentations would be valuable.

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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (2)

    • Climate Change
    • Weather
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Bioregionalism
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Justice
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • TEK -- Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Science and Technology (1)

    • Alternative Ways of Doing Science
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Good

Presents natural and anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide.  Also notes impacts on glaciers, water levels and communities.

Does not note other greenhouse gases.

Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Resource examines the impact of greenhouse gases and global warming on ice, the impact of climate change on northern communities, the impacts of ocean currents.  Economics are not discussed in monetary terms but there is reference to changes in ability to hunt.  Multiple dimensions of solutions are not addressed in this resource.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Very Good

The activity does a good job of presenting many aspects of causes of greenhouse gases and impacts of climate change.

Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Satisfactory

Suggests student may write a letter to a government body or local newspaper.

Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Poor/Not considered
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Video of Inuit people involved in climate change research in their community is very well done.  Students are asked to consider why they should care.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Good

This would be a very relevant activity for Arctic youth.  Others are given an opportunity to connect with the north because the first video they see relates to the people in Sachs Harbour and viewers are asked to consider the effect of increased sea levels on their own community.

Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Good

The past is well presented with historical glacial and geologic considerations.  The present condition and actions of glaciers is considered.  The vision of the future sea levels is not necessarily positive.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

Students view videos or participate in interactive lessons and reach their own conclusions from the evidence and concepts presented.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Very Good

Students consider the science of glaciology, geology and meteorology and their interrelationships with climate change.  They also consider the social and economic implications of rising water levels and climate change.  This is done through the use of digital media.  Oral and written communication are used in the poster sessions to report findings after discussion and research are done.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Satisfactory

Students are asked to consider how what happens in one place affects not only the local area and its inhabitants but also those in other parts of the world.

Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Good

Students learn the concepts by observing visual images and listening to narrative.  There is an opportunity for the student to empathize with the Inuit.  Websites are provided for in- depth understanding.

There are no suggestions for students with learning difficulties but the digital presentation of information makes it more accessable to all. 

Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

Teachers are told how far along to take discussions so that students will be ready for the next portion of the activity.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

Videos and interviews with people of Sachs Harbour.

Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Good

Students choose a related topic for small group inquiry.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.