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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.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

None.

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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
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

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

Does not note other greenhouse gases.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:

Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view

Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed

Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position

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:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
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 the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

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

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education 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 Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

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:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning 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 Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
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.

Integrated 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.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

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 student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
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 included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  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.