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Climate Change and the Arctic

Secondary

Description

In this lesson, students will

Examine their knowledge and beliefs
about the topic of climate change in
the Arctic.
• Identify patterns and trends in Arctic
sea ice from maps and satellite
imagery.
• Make predictions about the future extent
of sea ice changes in the Arctic.
• Create illustrated haikus to represent
their predictions for the futur

• Examine their knowledge and beliefs about the topic of climate change in the Arctic.

• Identify patterns and trends in Arctic sea ice from maps and satellite imagery

.• Make predictions about the future extent of sea ice changes in the Arctic.

• After reading examples of climate change haikus published by Gregory C. Johnson that represent findings of IPCC 2013, students create illustrated haikus to represent their own climate predictions for the future.

Access to all of the readings, videos, satellite images, and maps students require to complete the activities is provided by the resource.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

the lesson helps build learning skills related to

. map reading and interpretation

. reading comprehension

. articulating and defending a proposition

Strengths

The strength of the  lesson plan derives in part from

. the content - changes in Arctic sea ice is and will have dramatic consequences

. the process - a pedagogy that helps students interpret maps and defend their interpretation and the creative use of illustrated haikus to promote their understandings

Weaknesses

Certain of the hyperlinks are not working but websites can be accessed through a (Google) search using the resource titles.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The lesson plan topic has particular relevance for secondary curricula in Geography, Environmental Science, Science, and Social Studies. The use of illustrated haikus to convey a message would be of interest to English Language Arts and Visual Arts teachers.

The lesson may be used as an introduction to the larger issue of climate change, its causes and consequences and possible responses.

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        • Physical Geography 12: Interactions between human activities and the atmosphere affect local and global weather and climate

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Bioregionalism
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students examine maps and satellite imagery to develop their own perspective on patterns and trends in Arctic sea ice extent and make predictions about the future of sea ice changes in the Arctic.

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

The aim of the lesson is to have students explore changes in Arctic sea ice. While this may be regarded as a limited objective, it is a necessary part of the scaffolding that must be put in place before students go on to investigate the environmental , social, and economic implications of the changes occurring in the Arctic.

Once students have examined the evidence presented, they are asked to make predictions about the future extent of sea ice change and the possible impact of climate change in the Arctic. Students then transform their predictions into an illustrated haiku to make creative connections to their thinking. This exercise will lead students to a consideration of the larger environmental, economic and social effect of sea ice change. 

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 Good

The lesson acknowledges the complexity of the scientific information regarding sea ice change and responds by having students examine scientific data appropriate for and manageable by secondary students and by having students examine illustrated haikus that represent the findings of the IPCC in 2013

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Students conclude their study by creating their own illustrated haikus with the suggestion that these be shared in a gallery at school or on a website. This would be an imaginative and effective way to educate their fellow students and others as to causes and consequences of a warming Arctic.

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

While not explicit, there is an opportunity for teachers and students to explore the link between their personal activities and climate change within the context of what we value. The essential question is to have students consider what we are doing or not doing  and  why with respect to climate change. The haiku writing exercise  provides another medium in which to clarify and share their thinking.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

While the lesson does not require it, there is an opportunity to have students examine the effect of rising temperatures on the Inuit, who's way of life will be dramatically altered by climate change.

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 Good

The lesson asks students to examine changes in the natural world (the Arctic) and to consider the implications of these changes for those who inhabit that world along with the downstream effects.

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 Poor/Not considered

The geographic focus of the lesson is the Arctic but what happens here will have consequences for other regions in as much as we all live downstream. Teachers may have students move from a consideration of the consequences of climate change for the Arctic to an investigation of the expected effects of climate change in their local region. 

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 lesson is a study of change. It has students look at ice patterns in the past, the current realities, and the future possibilities.

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 Good

The lesson plan has students analyze data  from maps and satellite images to identify what they consider to be patterns and trends in Arctic sea ice and to make their predictions about the future extent of sea ice in the Arctic.  The lesson concludes with students transforming their predictions into an illustrated haiku to make a creative connection to their thinking. If we assume that the data provided is valid and reliable, then we can have confidence that students are not steered towards one " right" answer.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

Patterns and trends in Arctic sea ice is the stuff of science and geography but the consideration of the consequences of those patterns has relevance for disciplines such as economics, and other social sciences.

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 Good

Students are presented with the questions, What is happening with sea ice in the Arctic? and What may we expect in the future? Background material ( Polar Imperative) and maps and satellite imagery are provided to help them answer the question. 

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

The lesson plan has students use a variety of materials - maps, satellite images, readings, worksheets, haiku templates, video and Internet sites - to explore and respond to the issue of Arctic sea ice change. 

Students work individually to analyze the data provided and in small groups to share and defend their thinking. Illustrated haikus provide another medium in which to share their thinking.  

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 Good

Maps and satellite images provide students with a tactile and authentic "hands on" experience to understand what is happening to Arctic sea ice. 

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Students work with partners and in small groups to share their thinking about climate change in the Arctic. Within this context, students provide justification for the positions they take on the issue and share their insights and knowledge. Whole-class discussions provide another forum for students to contribute their thoughts and information.

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

Student worksheets and small and large group discussions in whcih students state and justify their position on what is happening with respect to Arctic sea ice and what we may expect in the future provide opportunities for formative evaluation of students understanding. Student illustrated haikus provide material for a more summative evaluation

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

Students learn from other students as they identify, for the benefit of their classmates, their position on trends in Arctic sea ice and defend that position. Students will also benefit by sharing their haikus with classmates and schoolmates.

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 Good

The study of trends in Arctic sea ice is a case study that allows students to better understand the larger issue of climate change.

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

The lesson plan may be described as an example of guided instruction. Students are presented with a question, material with which to explore that question, and an opportunity to articulate their findings and concerns.

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.