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Author

Bill Chapman

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Video, 3 minutes, 58 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Article
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessment

Regional Focus

Global, Polar Regions

Why the Arctic Is Climate Change's Canary in the Coal Mine

Synopsis
  • This video and article explains how melting ice and warming temperatures in the Arctic are often an early indicator for impacts elsewhere. 
  • Students will learn about positive and negative feedback loops, the albedo effect, and what melting ice in the Arctic means for the global climate. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The animated video is engaging and easy to understand.
  • The interactive questions reinforce key ideas and are a great way for students to independently check their understanding. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • An ad plays before the video.
  • A TED-Ed account is needed to access the interactive questions and use the discussion feature; accounts are free but students must be 13 or older to register. 

Differentiation

  • Science classes could use this resource as a introduction to reflectivity, feedback loops, the albedo effect, equilibrium, or homeostasis. 
  • As an extension activity, have students research examples of other feedback loops that impact climate change and present their findings. 
  • Other related resources include this lesson on feedback loops, this article about feedback loops fueling wildfires, and this video about how a warmer Arctic will intensify global warming.
Scientist Notes
The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the globe. As such, it is seeing a larger increase in extreme weather events. This resource from TED-Ed discusses some feedback loops that affect the Arctic. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • 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.
      • 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.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
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