Area of Named Glaciers

Contributor
United States Geological Survey, USGS
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Data
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This data set, when used in conjunction with the phenomena resource, Melting Glaciers, would allow students to investigate the question:

How has the rate of glacial area changed in the past 50 years?

 

The data set contains the measurements in square meters of 37 named glaciers located in Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest. The measurements were derived from aerial photography and satellite imagery. Students can explore rates of change over several decades as measurements were taken in 1966, 1998, 2005, and 2015. Teachers can have students analyze and make comparisons to show if glacial melt is occurring at a faster rate now than it did in the past.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 12
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 9
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

Clarification Statement: Examples of Earth systems to be considered are the hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and/or biosphere. An example of the far-reaching impacts from a human activity is how an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide results in an increase in photosynthetic biomass on land and an increase in ocean acidification, with resulting impacts on sea organism health and marine populations.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include running computational representations but is limited to using the published results of scientific computational models.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students can analyze data taken from aerial and satellite imagery to look at the changing area (m2) of 37 named glaciers in two national parks. Upon analysis of the data, students will see that glacial melting is occurring at a faster rate now than it has in the past. Students could attribute this change to increased global temperatures caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activity. An activity to help students address this is Earth’s Dynamically Changing Planet (http://ngss.nsta.org/Resource.aspx?ResourceID=541).

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students examine data sets showing changes in area (m2) of 37 glaciers in two national parks as recorded in 1966, 1998, 2005, and 2015. Students could look at rates of change to determine that glacial retreat is happening at a faster rate now than it did in the past.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students should compare the changes in the data set at the different time intervals, in order to conclude that the rate of change is greater now than it was in the past. Glaciers examined in this activity are part of a Glacier Biosphere Reserve (http://www.unesco.org/mabdb/br/brdir/directory/biores.asp?code=USA+11&mode=all).

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
When students analyze the data set, they can identify how significant the changes to glacial area are because they are happening at such a large rate in a short amount of time.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students, through comparing the data set, are able to see that change has occurred over time to the size of glaciers, rivers, and lakes due to increasing global temperatures. Students are also able to see that the rates of change have varied over long periods of time (comparing data set from 1966 to 2015) and short periods of time (data set from 2005 and 2015). Teachers could have students examine rates of change by determining percentage lost or total area lost over various time periods.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This data set would require the teacher to develop a three-dimensional lesson plan. Teachers could have students determine the percent area change or total area lost for different time period ranges to conclude that the rate of glacial melt is occurring faster now than it was in the past.

  • Instructional Supports: It would be up to the teacher to design any instructional activities and corresponding supports.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: It would be up to the teacher to design all criteria to monitor student progress.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Students would need a device to access the website. Further use of technology (Excel, Google Sheets, etc…) would be determined by the teacher.