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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography

Resource Types

  • Digital Text
  • Interactive Media
  • Video, 37 seconds
  • Lesson Plan
  • Data

Regional Focus

Global, North America, Polar Regions


Google Docs

CFR Education: Why Scientists Are Watching Greenland

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  • This section explains the effect that climate change is having on glacier melt in Greenland and how that is affecting sea level rise.
  • Students will read about feedback loops, study graphs and interactive maps, see a before and after image of one area in Greenland, and watch a time lapse of ice mass loss in order to facilitate learning.
  • This is the third section of the World 101 Climate Change module and includes a linked lesson plan for grades 9-12 and discussion guide for higher education classes.
Teaching Tips


  • Clicking on underlined vocabulary words will allow students to see the term defined, without taking them away from the reading screen.
  • The interactive media and maps in this article make it both highly informative and engaging for students.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The lesson plan and discussion guide provided have a few items for this specific lesson, but are written to connect to multiple sections.
  • Students should understand what climate change is, how humans are contributing to climate change, and the basic effects of climate change on life as we know it.
  • Students may need "feedback loops" explained in greater detail prior to starting the lesson.


  • Students can research flooding events and/or other weather events that have led to the displacement of people and communities, then discuss how these events may unequally affect low income individuals, people of color, Indigenous peoples, and those of low socio-economic status.
  • Students in geography classes can create their own detailed map of a particular region to show what coastal areas will look like if sea levels continue to rise, based on the interactive map included.
  • Students can write a public service announcement to warn and inform people about sea level rise.
  • Students with low reading stamina can be put in small groups, with each group member reading a section from the article and sharing the most important ideas.
  • Science and health classes can discuss the effects of coastal flooding on freshwater resources, which can be contaminated by seawater when flooding events occur.
Scientist Notes
This resource covers how and why the Greenland ice sheet is contributing to sea level rise. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-5 Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.12.9-12 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
      • D2.Geo.3.9-12 Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
      • D2.Geo.9.9-12 Evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.
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