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Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Polar Regions

Melting Permafrost

Authors: WGBH/Boston, Teacher Domain adapted from the International Institute for Sustainable Development
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences
Resource Types:
  • Video, 3 minutes, 57 seconds, CC
  • Article
  • This video shows how the permafrost in the Arctic has started to melt, causing mudslides and erosion.
  • The resource includes a background essay with more information on permafrost and discussion questions.
Teaching Tips


  • This video shows how melting permafrost impacts both the culture of the Inuit people and the environment.
  • The resource can be shared on Google Classroom. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video was produced in 2002, so teachers may want to provide students with some updated information about melting permafrost in the Arctic.


Scientist Notes
Please note that the video in this resource was made in 2002. In the last two decades, substantial research has been done into the thawing of the permafrost and what it means, not only for the people who rely on it but also in terms of the impact on climate change. The Arctic has warmed more rapidly than any other place on Earth, so this problem has only been exacerbated.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
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