The Arctic Ocean Curriculum Unit was created by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States with funding from the North Pacific Research Board. This project aimed to update and revise existing Arctic Ocean-related lesson plans originally created by PolarTREC program teacher alumni. The format used lends itself to the changes in education - providing student-facing slide decks that allow
Melissa Lau spent a month in the tundra ecosystem gathering data using a device called a Greenseeker. This device measures exactly how green a plant is by calculating its NDVI or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. In this lesson, students will explore light waves, how they interact with plants, and find out how green is green.
This lesson focuses on the diffusion of gas molecules across the cuticle membrane of sea spider legs and the role body size plays in the ability of sea spiders to uptake gases. Students construct model sea spider legs of varying diameters and use them to investigate the relationship between surface area-to-volume ratios and diffusion.
Ice that forms in the polar oceans is an important driver behind the global climate. This ice is physically different from frozen precipitation in a number of different ways. In this brief inquiry activity, students make qualitative observations about two types of ice cubes and deduce ice composition based on their observations. This activity may serve as an introduction to
NASA’s Operation IceBridge uses remote sensing techniques to build a picture of parts of our world not accessible or easily observed by humans. Flying 1500 feet above sea and land ice, the science team uses LiDAR, Radar, Infrared imaging, and high resolution digital imagery to collect information about our polar regions year after year. In this classroom project, inspired and
This lesson incorporates techniques and experimental designs used by researchers during the Southern Ocean Diatoms PolarTREC expedition and during post-expedition laboratory analysis. This guided inquiry lesson provides students the opportunity to explore photosynthesis and primary productivity using techniques to measure chlorophyll levels.
1. Use models to predict chlorophyll levels in the global oceans
When radioactive elements decay they emit high-speed particles. These can be detected by use of a cloud chamber. The cloud chamber was invented by Charles Thomson Rees Wilson in 1911. The chamber works by saturating the air inside with alcohol vapor. Cooling the chamber with dry ice supersaturates the air. The energetic particles produced by the radioactive decay ionize
Understanding Physical and Chemical Parameters of Ocean Water Using CTD Profiles
A focus of the PolarTREC Southern Ocean Diatoms expedition was to collect water samples and physical profile data using oceanographic technology. Oceanographers rely on the real-time data transferred from the water column to the ship-based computers using a CTD sensor. The CTD measures conductivity (salinity), temperature and depth
By rolling a die, students will simulate a molecule of carbon’s movement with in the carbon cycle. This is a fun, active way to introduce students to the carbon cycle and/or to review the cycle and identify carbon sinks and sources.
Students experience the carbon cycle as CO2 molecules or as stored carbon and travel the path of
Oceanography is the study of the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics from marine life to the geology of the sea floor to the physical properties of the ocean. Physical oceanographers study the physical components of the ocean including light, waves, tides, currents and the composition of sea water. The physical properties of the ocean can