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Slip Sliding Away: Exploring glacier dynamics

Students explore how glaciers move by using “glacier goo/flubber,” (a polymer made with glue and Borax solution) whose properties model the movement of glacial ice. Through an open or guided inquiry, students make a hypothesis and then test their ideas.

Subglacial Lakes: What’s happening under the ice sheets?

Students observe a subglacial lake model and measure changes in temperature, salinity and sea level rise as the glaciers/ice sheets and subglacial lakes melt.. Students will move from the small model to discussions of implications for Earth systems.

Nature vs. Science: The Hypothesis Card Game

Students play a game of cards to learn how scientists study nature.

Thermohaline Circulation and Rapid Climate Change: Greenland is Melting

In this investigation, we will analyze how the density of the ocean surrounding Greenland may change as a result of increasing amounts of meltwater coming off the Greenland Ice Sheet.

To the Ends of the Earth: Comparing the Arctic and Antarctic

Going to the “ends of the Earth” takes you to the Arctic and the Antarctic. This activity engages students in sorting picture cards comparing similarities and differences between the Polar Regions in a table-sized Venn Diagram.

Engineering Challenge: Designing a Portable Drilling Rig

This activity is offered as a means of introducing students to the Scientific and Engineering Practices, as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Reflection Activities: Reflect on a lesson or unit of study

Ideas for how to get students to reflect on a lesson or unit of study.

Albedo: Measuring the Reflective Properties of Different Surfaces

Students will measure the albedo and surface temperature of various ice mixtures and the changing properties as the ice melts over time. Students will move from understanding what albedo is, to the larger scale of its role in Earth's energy budget.

The Stink Test: Validating Resources

In a time when evidence based information is questioned, it is imperative that we teach our students how to recognize whether a source is valid or not. The STINK Test gives them the tools to do just that.

Decoding Ice Cores: Atmospheric Analysis

In this lab, the relative amount of CO2 in melted "ice core samples" will be determined using a conductivity meter. Then students will graph their results and compare to the 800,000 ice core record.

Video Links from the Ice Drilling Program Education & Outreach + Ice Core Researchers

IDP-EO and ice core researchers have created many videos for use in classrooms.

Decoding Ice Cores–Isotopic Analysis–How warm was the Earth in the past?

In this lab we will use 5-pennies to model water molecules sampled from each of 11 different “ice core layers” dating from the present to almost 500,000 years ago. The goal is to determine the temperature of climate in the past by comparing the average isotopic mass of the water molecules in the ice cores […]