Resource Type
Completion Time
About a week
Middle School and Up
Download, Share, and Remix
Ken Williams
Related Members
Preferred App for Explanation
Earth Science
Tools and Methods
Snow and Ice Science


Ground penetrating radar is an important tool for studying glacier dynamics. Glacier scientists use GPR images to analyze attributes of glaciers. The following research activity will familiarize students with the basics of the different types of glaciers and their dynamics along with ground penetrating radar and its use in glacier studies.


Students will know the different types of glaciers, their attributes and flow dynamics. Students will know the basics of ground penetrating applications for below ground surface analysis. Students will complete ground penetrating radar and glacier research and prepare a sharable presentation using the iOS App “Explain Everything” or other presentation software.


Research Parameters relative to the goal are listed below:

  1. Find ten “oh wow” facts about glaciers. Student voice and choice applies here, but teacher guidance is expected. Possible web based information can be found at:

  2. Research, list, and describe the attributes of the different types of glaciers and locate photos of those types (see web sites above).

  3. Find diagrams of how glaciers move (see web sites above).
  4. Find five facts about ground penetrating radar.
  5. Find information, diagrams and images of Ground Penetrating Radar pertaining to its use in glacier studies.
  6. A Google Image search using “studying glaciers with ground penetrating radar” will produce many images that are useable for research and helping to gain a basic understanding of GPR.
  7. There are many technical papers available on-line for ground penetrating radar used in glacier studies, so anyone using the suggestions. here will need to be their own discerning user of the internet, but a few links are listed below that may offer some content support and suggestions.

  8. Complete “Explain Everything” or other application based presentation following presentation protocols (citations required) developed by classroom teacher or other education professional.

Additional Resource

Seth Campbell, PhD
Research Geophysicist Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab, Hanover, NH
Research Assistant Professor, University of Maine School of Earth and Climate Sciences

Contact Seth Campbell at seth.campbell [at]
Please contact Seth as he an expert in the application of ground penetrating radar applications on glaciers and was instrumental in locating the site used in the PolarTREC climb up the Kahiltna Glacier.


PolarTREC Teacher Ken Williams <kwilliams [at]>

Attachment Size
Download Complete Lesson (PDF - 81KB)81.49 KB 81.49 KB

This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed by this program are those of the PIs and coordinating team, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.