Polar & Climate Curriculum & Education Activities

These activities have been developed through a series of research and outreach initiatives that are ongoing. Each activity has been tested through teacher workshops, classroom work or community events. Please check back regularly for new updates! Activities are uploaded as pdfs unless otherwise noted.

Is Pine Island Glacier a 'Climate Canary'? How are glaciers formed and what causes them grow or retreat? In this activity students work with real ICESat satellite measurements to determine how this Antarctic glacier is changing. Activity includes a lab to develop and test hypothesis for the ice sheet behavior, and match student data to the real glacier to compare the two systems.

Background presentation - pptx* ppt * pdf

Glacier Goo - needed for the lab portion


Impacts of Climate on Pine Island Glacier - Is this Antarctic Glacier Losing Height? In this activity High School or Undergraduate students will analyze authentic ice sheet elevation data from the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) and then develop ‘hands-on’ models to support their hypothesis for the ice sheet behavior. (being modified)

PIG Data File 279 (excel file) - PIG Data File 362 (excel file) - Glacier Goo


Remote Sensing: Using Radar to look through the ice - It is hard to believe that melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica could affect sea levels around the world, but increasing amounts of polar ice are sliding from land into the world's oceans. Knowing what is under the ice helps scientists predict how glaciers will move. How do we look under the ice?

Mountain Data File (xls) or (xlsx). Hand graphing.

Visualizing Data - Antarctic Radar Data to identify features & locate subglacial lakes - Navigating the data set (also needed)

Computer Lab - The use of remote sensing data is used extensively in understanding our planet. This activity introduces students to the Mosaic of Antarctica data set of satellite images collected by the MODIS instrument (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) http://planet.sr.unh.edu/MOA/


Adrienne and Beth's Wild and Crazy Adventure at the Bottom of the Earth! Follow Adrienne and Beth on their journey to the most remote place on Earth and see if you can help them solve the many puzzles that they face while they are there! Students apply science and math concepts while they join these young scientists in an interactive web based adventure.


Climate Change: Why do the Poles Matter?...water, water, water. There are 3 big ice sheets on Earth: Greenland, West Antarctica, East Antarctica. If they melted entirely sea level everywhere would rise. Each ice sheet holds the following amounts of sea level rise trapped in ice: Greenland 24 feet; West Antarctic 19 feet; East Antarctica 170. This is a total of 213 feet of sea level rise all over the world! But what does this really mean?

Polar Weekend Activities - A series of Hands on activities on polar topics that will inform and engage students on polar topics from Sea Ice, Sea Level Rise, Climate Change, Ice Cores, Native Populations. Can be used with any age but are best for Middle School and High School students.