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Ice Core Lab: Natural Variability: Paleoclimate on Millennial Timescales

This lab is an engaging hands-on activity demonstrating that CO2 is a direct measurement while hydrogen isotopes are used as a proxy for temperature measurements. Through the study of ice cores, scientists have developed a continuous record of CO2 and temperature records going back 800,000 years. Requires freezer space and several days of freezing time.

Land Ice/Sea Ice/Grounded Ice

Land Ice/Sea Ice/Grounded Ice: How does melting ice affect sea level?

Life Cores: How do we know what we know about the science of ice cores?

By building a personal “life core,” students are introduced to some of the techniques and vocabulary used by scientists as they study ice cores.

The Long Haul–Ice Core Challenge: Keeping Ice Cores Frozen from Field to Lab

Students’ primary task in this activity is to design a container that will keep an ice core from melting over time AND to do so while spending the least amount of "money."

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.