All resources are sorted by audience in the middle of the Home page of the website. For those that want to see all of the resources in one place, here is the entire list with links to the activities and a brief description of each–just click on the activity name.


Albedo: Measuring the reflective properties of different surfaces





Students will measure the albedo and surface temperature of various ice mixtures and he 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.

Tags: albedo; hands-on; inquiry; lab; NGSS


Checking Out the Team: Meet the scientists–short bios




IDP scientists and engineers are generous with their time and efforts to further education and outreach goals. These are short bios illustrating the huge variety of careers and disciplines of study within the ice core science field.

Tags: science careers


Drill Model: Demonstrate how scientists and drillers retrieve ice cores from beneath the ice sheets



Students build this drill model and then teach others about how ice cores are retrieved from under the ice sheets in Greenland and in Antarctica.

Tags: ice core drillling; ice core science; NGSS


Drilling Back Through Time: Polar Science and Engineering




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).

Tags: science and engineering; year without summer; inquiry; NGSS;


Extreme Cold Weather Gear: A script for exploring the clothing needed to survive the extremes of Antarctica



Antarctica is the highest, driest, windiest, coldest place on Earth. Working there requires special clothing to ensure survival. If you can’t bring a set of ECW into the classroom, this activity also provides video links and photos to use for the discussion.

Tags: ECW; Extreme Cold Weather Gear

Decoding Ice Cores–Lab #1–under construction



Decoding Ice Cores–Lab #2: Atmospheric Analysis–How much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere in the past?




Decoding Ice Cores–Lab #3: Isotopic Analysis–How warm was the Earth in the past?








Ice Core Lab–activity directions; excel sheet for data (you will need to “download” it for the sheet to work for you) and video explaining proxies (Used in the School of Ice and for now, only available here–activity is in revision and soon to be available on the Home page as well)


Lab #1–coming soon




In Lab #2, the relative amount of CO2 in melted ice core samples will be determined using a conductivity meter instead of the mass spectrometer used by scientists.  Students collect data, create graphs and use scientific argument–“Our data suggests…”

Tags: Antarctic, Arctic, CO2, Hands-0n, Ice Core Lab, Ice Core Science, Inquiry, Lab, NGSS



In Lab #3,  we 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 to the standard average isotopic mass of water from the ocean.

Tags: Antarctic, Arctic, Hands-0n, Ice Core Lab, Ice Core Science, Inquiry, Lab, NGSS, Proxy for Temperature,


After completing Labs #2 & 3, students will explore data from the real 800,000 year ice core record.



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.

Tags: Ice Core Lab; proxy for temperature; CO2; hands-on; inquiry; lab; NGSS



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



Students will build 3 models to compare how different kinds of melting ice will affect sea level.

Tags: Melting ice; land based ice; sea ice; grounded ice; hands-on; inquiry; NGSS


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.

Tags: ice core science; hands-on; art and science


Long Haul: Ice Core Challenge–Directions; Video



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.”

Tags: energy transfer; transfer of energy; melting ice; hands-on; inquiry; lab; NGSS


Nature vs. Science: The Hypothesis Card Game–Directions & Rules; powerpoint example



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

Tags: how scientists work; nature of science; hands-on; inquiry;


Polar Detectives:  Using ice core data to decode past climate mysteries—Directions; ppt about the Year without Summer




What caused the Year without Summer?” Students will investigate the formation and physical properties of ice cores.  They will graph sulfur data from two ice core locations, draw conclusions about the impact of volcanic eruptions on weather at the time and compare the discrepant 1816 event to long term climate patterns.

Tags: Year without summer; sulfur data; how volcanoes affect atmospheric temperature; hands-on; inquiry; lab; NGSS


Reflection Activities




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

Tags: metacognition; reflection


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.

Tags: glaciers; glacier dynamics; hands-on; inquiry; lab; NGSS


Stink Test





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.

Tags: Validating sources


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.

Tags: Subglacial Lakes; salinity, sea level rise; ocean temperature; hands-on; inquiry; lab; NGSS


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.

Tags: Polar regions; Arctic; Antarctic; Compare Arctic and Antarctic; Compare Polar Regions; hands-on