Even in Antarctica ice will melt. As the sun stays higher and higher in the sky as summer progresses, the warm sun causes the ice to melt. The questions that we are going to ask are: 1) Does clean ice (no sediment) or dirty ice (has sediment mixed in it) melt faster? and 2) Would the ice melt if all the sunlight were reflected away? To answer these questions we melted a piece of dirty ice, a piece of clean ice, and a piece of ice covered in aluminum foil while also recording the air temperature. Students will view the pictures, record the data, graph the data, and then interpret the results.
All students will be able to describe albedo and how it affects the melting rates of ice and its implications towards climate change.
This lesson is fairly easy to complete in one or two class periods with little or no preparation. If the students will view the pictures directly, they will need internet access. If computers are not accessible, the teacher could copy down the data and use this activity as a graphing and interpretation lesson. Before beginning this lesson, students should have the basic knowledge necessary to make their own line graph. They should also have some prior knowledge of the albedo effect and other factors leading to ice melt.
- Review the pre-lab questions together
- Make hypotheses
- Use the pictures on the PolarTREC Journal to fill in the data table
- Use the data to complete the ice melt and temperature graphs
- Interpret the graphs and answer the follow-up questions
- Review as a class
Do your own experiment! Make your own set-up with ice cubes with and without sediment to create clean and dirty ice. Have students record the results and compare it to our results.
Pictures available through the PolarTREC Journal at: http://www.polartrec.com/expeditions/microorganisms-in-antarctic-glacier-ice/journals/november-11-2009-who-will-melt-first
See follow-up questions on student handout
Lindsay Knippenberg. PolarTREC 2009. lknippenberg [at] solake.org
Standards9-12 Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry: Content Standard B: Physical Science: Content Standard F: Science In Personal and Social Perspectives: a. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry b. Understandings about scientific inquiry a. Properties and changes of properties in matter b. Populations, resources, and environments Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry: Content Standard F: Science In Personal and Social Perspectives: a. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry b. Understandings about scientific inquiry c. Natural resources d. Environmental quality f. Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
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