This video details the four unique sea ice ecoregions in the Arctic and describes how they are changing and how those changes are affecting polar bears.
Students will learn about the annual cycle of the ice in the Arctic Circle, how global warming is affecting this cycle, and why it is imperative that we stop this warming process.
This video provides engaging video footage of polar bears in their natural habitat, in addition to other footage from the narrator's field work.
This resource provides maps, charts, and graphs that help aid comprehension.
While this video is primarily about sea ice ecoregions, it also addresses the dire situation for polar bears, which can be a very difficult topic for many students.
Social studies or geography classes could complete maps showing the four sea ice ecoregions and plotting where they are located. Students could also discuss how this change in sea ice will affect the people who rely on the ice or permafrost for their survival.
Biology, ecology, or environmental science classes could use this video as a hook for lessons about how the Arctic is changing, how additional shipping lanes or mining operations in the Arctic could affect habitats and wildlife, or predator-prey interactions, keystone species, and population dynamics.
Art classes could use this watercolor painting as a conversation starter about the emotions evoked by habitat degradation in the Arctic.
Consider using this resource to give students a deeper look at the risks posed by melting permafrost and coastal erosion.
Polar Bears International has released other resources that might further student learning, including this polar bear tracker, this video about a GPS-tracked polar bear, and this mini-poster and fact sheet with more basic, introductory facts about polar bears.
The video defines what the four different sea ice ecoregions are, details why they are important to polar bears, and explains how they will change as the Earth warms. The video focuses on polar bears and their feeding habits in these regions. This resource is a good introduction to the topic and has nice visuals. The presenter is the scientist who defined these regions in the scientific literature and has published on the topic. The reference provided is older but still relevant. The data shown in graphs will become dated, but it is still useful as it is
showing decadal (10-year) changes or climatological (30-year) averages. The description does include a link to their website, which has recent data. 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.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-1 Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
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.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Geography
D2.Geo.4.9-12 Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.