Thursday, December 30, 2010

Final Project - Global Warming and Us

Essential Question
How can teachers use digital resources, community resources and effective teaching methods, integrating Alaska Native ways of knowing with Western scientific methods to create greater student interest in, and understanding of, the geosciences?

Students will work together to  collect information about the impact of global warming on the residents of Gambell, AK. They will use all resources available to them to compile their data including: interviews, digital resources, and textbooks.

High school students will be doing the work for this project including the research, interviews, picture taking, and compiling all the data. This project is intended for anyone who can benefit from the data. One of the most important reasons for compiling this data is to have a written record of the information gained from the elders in the village. Their observations are priceless and if they are not recorded there is a potential for them to be lost forever.

  • Create a written record of the changes that have taken place in and around Gambell, AK
    • Create maps of how hunting patterns have changed in and around Gambell, AK
    • Take pictures of areas changing from melting permafrost
    • Have students interview elders and member of the community
    • Have students create a digital presentation of their data

    Image of Gambell taken
    from Google Earth
    Students in Gambell see the changes that are taking place due to the change in climate around them. If you ask them about how hunting has changed over the years due to global warming they can easily tell you where their grandparents hunted and how they have to go farther out to catch the same animals. Unfortunately, this knowledge is not written down anywhere. I personally would love to see a map of where the elders hunted when they were young and compare it to where my students hunt today. The island is also changing due to melting permafrost and it would be really great if my students created a record of these changes.

    BSSD Standards
    TE.5.14 Student creates a presentation using a variety of media.
    SC.4.23 The student demonstrates an understanding of geochemical cycles.
    SC.4.24 The student demonstrates an understanding of the forces that shape the Earth.

    Digital Resources

    Unit Plan
    • Students will learn about (or review) geochemical cycles that are at work all around them.
    • Students will learn about different factors that contribute to global warming.
    • Students will look at the changes that have taken place because of global warming.
    • Students will look at the changes that have specifically taken place in and around Gambell, AK by:
      • conducting interviews with elders in the community, and using their own knowledge to figure out where hunting spots have been in the past and where they are today.
      • using Google Earth to show how hunting patterns and locations have changed over the years.
      • making observation and using information from elder interviews about how melting permafrost has changed the landscape around them.
      • taking pictures of changing landscapes.
      • Recording observations from elders and other members of the community about how climate has changed over the years and how this has chanced their lifestyle.
    • Students will create a written record of all the information they have collected.
      • It will be the students choice how they will create a record of the information they collected. Choice could include, but not limited to: book, blog, website, Google Docs.
    • Students will create a digital record of the data they have collected.
      • It will be the students choice of how they create their digital presentations. Examples could include PowerPoint, iMovie, recorded presentation.
      • Students will upload their presentation to the internet to share the data they have collected

    As a conclusion to the unit students will put on a community night to show their projects. This will give students a chance to show off their hard work and give the community a chance to see all their findings. I believe this information will be interesting and very informative for the community. 

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Week 9 Module

    1. Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?
    Image take from "Losing
    Permafrost in Alaska"

    I found the video clip “Losing Permafrost in Alaska” very fascinating. I was shocked when I heard that repairing permafrost damage is costing Alaskan’s about $35 million a year. At the end of the video there was a man from Arctic Village, Alaska who was talking about putting in solar panels. I think it is wonderful when people turn to green energy. I have not heard of many examples of solar panels in Alaska. Most of the villages in our district us wind turbines. I am curious as to how well solar power works for them.

    2. Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?

    I enjoyed doing the two activities “A Drop in the Bucket”, “1000 Snow Flakes” and “Glacier Ice—Sea Level”. I think it will make a great anticipatory set for my students when we talk about the water cycle and where water is located on the planet. I like given students examples that are easy to visualize. “A Drop in the Bucket” could even be turned into a hands on activity where the students measure out the drops into different beakers to represent each place on each.
    Image taken from
    "When Sea Levels Attack"

    One thing I really like to point out to my students when we talk about the rise of sea level is the elevation of Gambell. It wouldn’t take much for the village to be covered with water. The information from “Glacier Ice—Sea Level” is so nice because it shows at what point Gambell would become covered with water. The picture from “When Sea Levels Attack!” is also an amazing visual. A few years ago I saw a map similar to the ones on the right hand side of the picture. It is very scary thought that a map of the world might look like that in the future.

    I enjoyed the “Earth System: Ice and Global Warming” video clip because the narrator made it clear that it isn’t proven global warming is caused my greenhouse gasses. I noticed it right away when I was listening to the video. It is very easy for my to glance over the fact that there are some scientist who don’t believe we have increased the rate of global warming. I often find myself talking about greenhouse gasses as a given for the reason our climate is changing. It is always good to show students this isn’t a proven fact.

    3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?
    Image taken from "Climate Change"

    The video “Climate Change” was very fascinating and will be a great clip to show to my Earth science class. I like how the video points out the difference between weather and climate. In the past my students have had a hard time distinguishing between the two. Anything I can use that will help them understand the difference between the two is wonderful to have. I really like the graph that showed the climate change over the past 45,000 years. It really put climate change in perspective.

    Friday afternoon during my prep one of my students came into my class and told me she was doing her senior research project on the melting of permafrost. She wanted to know if I had any good resources on it so I showed her the video clip “Melting Permafrost”. She loved it and watched it three times to get all the information out of it that she could. She told me that the area out by her camp looks very similar to areas on the video where mud was sliding. She then went on to watch two other video clips on Teachers’ Domain. 

    3 Colleagues

    One her blog “Living and Learning in Alaska” Kris commented on the concept of “Food Sovereignty Areas”. It is very important for the land to be kept clean so that people can continue their traditional ways.

    On her page “Emerson’s Explorations” Cheryl commented that she can imagine her students saying “euwwww” to the fact that the water they drink could have been any number of places. I also enjoy telling my students this. I usually say something like “the water you drink could be the same water George Washington drank”. Some kids like that, some don’t.

    On his page Kevin commented on how he thinks he placed too much ice in the cup for the melting ice experiment. I also ran across this when I tried it out at home. The second time I put a little less in and it worked beautifully. Always a good plan to try stuff first before you do it with students! 

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Week 8 Module

    1. Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?

    I have never really thought about the relationship of the location of ice and if that will cause a rise in sea level. I really enjoyed doing the ice in a water glass from the “Watching Ice Melt!” series. When I read the activity I could not wait to try it. As the ice was melting I was thinking back to the properties of water and ice.  I will be sharing this activity with my students. It will be a really great to have my students make a prediction before we do the activity. I am sure the students will not all agree on what will happen. I love hearing what the students think will happen with activities like this.

    2. Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?

    I will be showing the video clip “Arctic Climate Perspectives” to my advisory class. It is a wonderful video from a science perspective, however, it is also great for a career point of view. My students have a unique and wonderful opportunity when it comes to studying climate change. This clip shows researchers who come from all over to study in Alaska. It would be wonderful if more Alaska scientists from these villages studied it. My students have a very high interest in global warming and they know first hand how the climate has changed for them. All of my students can verbally tell me what changes they have seen over their lifetime.

    Image take from "Artic Sea
    Ice Satellite Observations"
    I will be sharing the interactive activity “Arctic Sea Ice Satellite Observations” with my students. I really like how you can see the dramatic change in the sea ice over the years. I also like the feature that allows you to zoom in and show Alaska close up. You are able to specifically see St. Lawrence Island, which is really nice for my students.

    3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?

    I am really looking forward to showing my students the video clip “Global Warming Threatens Shishmaref”. My students love to watch anything that mentions Alaska, and they are really going to enjoy this clip because Shishmaref is in our school district. Many of my students have been there for sports, and academic events. It is such a wonderful thing when you can show your students something they can really relate to. Also, as I have mentioned before in this blog, my students love to learn about the effects of global warming.

    I was reading this module in the airport as I was waiting for my flight to Gambell. The section “Sea Ice – Sea Ice” was on my mind for the flight back. The Gambell runway is located right between the ocean and a lake. As we were landing I saw the ocean with no sign of ice and on the other side the lake completely frozen over. It would be a really cool activity for my students to record the dates and temperature for when the lake freezes and when the ocean freezes.

    3 Colleagues

    Esther commented on her page about how she has first hand experience of listening to the elders talk about how global warming is changing where she lives. It is such a great resource to be able to talk to elders in the community.

    I agree with Alicia when she comments on how large of a problem climate change is, and we often don’t see it that way. It is easy to put it at the back of your mind because it is such a slow process.

    Like Dan, I also learned that Inuit people are collecting data. It is really wonderful to see that their data is being recorded. It is very valuable and useful information for us to have. 

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Week 7 Module

    1. Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?

    Image taken from "Inuit Observations
    of Climate Change"
    I really enjoyed watching the video “Inuit Observations of Climate Change”. In part of the video they were talking about how researches talk to the women about the fat content of animals. I had never thought about that relationship before. The women have hands on experiences with how the animals have changes over the years. What a wealth of information, I am happy to hear that researches are writing the information down!

    The video “Seeing Stars” was very educational for me. I had no idea astronomers where measuring the wobble of stars. It really is amazing what science can do these days. Many times when I watch videos like this I am reminded of science fiction from when I was a child, scientists were looking for other planets to colonize.

    2. Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?

    The video clip “Life Before Oxygen” will work great in my life science class in a few weeks. We will be talking about photosynthesis and how important it is to have plants to balance out the animals on the planet. This video really shows how different our atmosphere would be if we didn’t have plants. It is also a great reminder to us about how important it is that we keep a health plant population on the planet.

    I am currently teaching astronomy in one of my Earth science classes. I will be showing my students the video “The Elements: Forded in Stars”. I really like how the explanations in the video and brought down to a level my students can understand. The graphics and simple, but really do a good job at giving students visuals. I personally enjoyed how they went between the two scientists telling the story. It made it more enjoyable to watch.

    3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?

    I will be showing the video “La’ona DeWilde: Environmental Biologist” in my classes. I really like this video for many reasons. It is really nice to show my students what kind of job you can have with a science degree, and the fact that it is a native woman who has the degree and job is wonderful. It is always great to show my students role models. Many of them don’t think it is possible for them to leave the village and go off to college. Here is a great example of a woman who did that.

    Image taken from "Global Warming:
    Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect"
    I used the video “Global Warming: Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect” in my Earth science class about three weeks ago. The students really enjoyed watching it. What an amazing visual. Even I was surprised the first time I saw the video. I did not know that carbon dioxide would have that dramatic of an effect on infrared radiation. This demonstration really puts greenhouse gasses in perspective. 

    3 Colleagues

    On “Esther Gust’ Explore Alaska” page she talks about how easy it is to make the cultural connection when you live in a village on the ocean. I totally agree with this. It is very easy to understand how important the ocean is when your students rely on it for food.

    On the “Science Explorations” page Alicia mentioned how she finds it interesting that the pollution from other places comes to Alaska. I also found that interesting, and very sad. When I was younger I thought of Alaska as a pristine place that was untouched by pollution.

    On his site “Doug’s Explore Alaska Blog” he mentioned how useful Google Earth weather layer will be in his earth science class. I also have been using Google Earth in my classes. It is such a great toool, and I love the layers you can get.

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    week 6 Module

    1. Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?

    Image from Contaminants in the Arctic Food Chain
    I found the video clip “Contaminants in the Arctic Food Chain” very fascinating. I had no idea that the arctic was more affected by mercury and PCBs than other parts of the world. From everything you hear about preservatives, and other chemicals that are added to store bought meat you would think that eating from the ocean would be the best way to go. How unfortunate it is that people who are living off the land have their food contaminated through no fault of their own. 

    The video clip “Arctic Haze” was very interesting to watch.  One key thing I really noticed about the clip was when the bush pilot Dennis Miller was talking about what he saw. He had been flying in the area for 15 years and he noted how it has become more dense and frequent. In just 15 years he was able to notice the difference with the naked eye. That is a scary thought. What will it be like in another 15 years?

    2. Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?

    The YouTube clip “Reveal Earth’s Atmosphere” will make a great anticipatory set when we do the atmosphere in Earth science. I love showing my students clips like this because it gets them excited for what we are about to learn. I thought surfing on the air was a great way of showing a real life example of science. It was also something my students will want to do, and hopefully, that will spark their curiosity about the atmosphere.

    I will show the video clip “Ocean Temperatures and Climate Patters” in my Earth Science class when we study climate patterns. It is so important for students to understand that climate is not self-contained. This video clip shows how the Earth works together as a systems, not many independent systems.

    “Giving Rise to the Jet Stream” will be a great interactive activity for my students. It is nice to have something for them to do on the computers. I will use this with them when we have the computers out for a project or writing assignment. Unfortunately, the high school only has one set of computers. So when I check them out I want to use the computers for a whole class period.

    3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?

    Image from Google Earth
    I really enjoyed using the “Weather Layer” in Google Earth. I think this layer helps give a more accurate image of the Earth. When we use Google Earth we see the Earth without any clouds. This is not what Earth really looks like from space. I think it is very valuable for students to see this layer, and explore what the clouds look like from space and see how they change. It would be a fun and interactive activity for my students to look at this layer for a few minutes each day and see how it changes. They could even put together screen shots to compare each day. 

    3 Colleagues

    On her page “Cultural Connections in Earth Science” Janet mentioned a layer on Google Earth that shows shots from webcams. I had not notice this layer. I am sure I will be able to use it when we study weather in my Earth science class.

    I really enjoyed reading Alison’s blog “Explore Alaska with Alison”. She makes some great points about how it bothers her that there is so much pollution, but that doesn’t stop her from making it. I completely agree with this. I live on an island and I have to fly very often. Flying is not the most environmentally friendly thing, but I still do it. Unfortunately, that is only one of many examples.

    On his blog “Let’s Explore Alaska and get Connected!” Kevin mentioned a study that looked at ice cores to study metal deposits. I find it so fascinating how you can associate events in history with the amount of pollution that humans are releasing. It only makes sense that during the depression there was less pollution. 

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Week 5 Module

    1. Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?

    I found the YouTube clip “Ben Franklin and The Gulf Stream” very fascinating. I had no idea Franklin mapped out the Gulf Stream. It is amazing how he was able to create such an accurate map with the technology of the time. This is really a great example of how accurate measurements can be done without the aid of computers and GPS.

    I really enjoyed looking at the climate differences between Washington, DC and San Francisco. It is nice to have an interactive lesson where I looked at the two locations, compared their latitude, compared their climates and then looked at how ocean patterns could be affecting their climates. I would like to do an activity like this with my students. It is a lot more fun making the connections on your own instead of just reading the answers.
    Image taken from Google Earth
    Image taken from Google Earth

    2. Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?

    The video clip “Living from the Land and Sea” I can use for a cultural and ecological connection. An example of this is how an elder talked about putting the leftovers from cleaning fish into the garden. When my students studied the nitrogen cycle we talked about how important it is to put nitrogen back into the soil. This video clip shows that this knowledge has been passed down for generations, they understand how to take care of the land!

    Image taken from "Warmer Oceans Affect Food Web"
    My students will really enjoy seeing the video clip “Warmer Oceans Affect Food Web”. They love learning about global warming because it affects their way of life. In one of my classes global warming was mentioned and the students wanted to talk about it for the rest of the period. They told me about how in their lifetime they have seen the changing patterns of where they go to hunt polar bear. I love teaching things that the students love learning about.

    “Warmer Oceans Affect Food Web” is also a great video for my students because it talks about bird populations. Many of my students hunt the birds on the island for food. They need a healthy bird population to provided food for their families throughout the winter.  Also, the economy of the island would be greatly hurt if the bird populations went down. Gambell is a very popular spot for birders in the summer and early fall. There are a very limited amount of job on the island, and many of them revolve around the birders. 

    The video clip “What caused Earth’s Seasons” will be a great reinforcement video for me to show my earth science class next week. We just did an activity where we created a model of the solar system.  One of the points of the model was to demonstrate why we have seasons. It is always nice to have a short video to remind the students what we talked about the previous week.

    3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?

    The YouTube clip “Oceans of Climate Change” could have not come at a better time for me. One of the questions on our district assessment is: “During the winter months in Nome, it is often 10 or more degrees warmer than in Fairbanks. Explain what causes this.” I was looking for a lab or other resources to help show the concept of heat capacity to my students. The YouTube clip will be perfect. We can also do the balloon demo in class. 

    3 Colleagues

    Alicia also lives next to the Bering Sea. Geography isn't my strong subject, so I don't where many villages are located. On her site, “Science Explorations”, she commented about how much they rely on the ocean for food. It would be interesting to live in a village that is away from the ocean and see the differences in lifestyles.

    Dan, on his site "Dan Adair Blog Site",  writes about using visual aids in class more often. I completely agree with this. It always amazes me how much the students can get out of a 2-3 minute clip. Sometimes they take away more from that then when I lecture for a whole class.

    Tommy made a comment, on his site "Explore Alaska", about how slow internet can make Google Earth hard to do in the classroom. I understand what he is saying about the slow internet connection. When I tried Google Earth with one of my classes it took a long time for their pictures to come it. My students were really excited about learning Google Earth, but were not happy with the wait time.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Week 4 Module

    1. Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?

    I found the video clip “Contemporary Land Issues Regarding Mauna Kea” very educational. I never take the time to stop and think about the cultural impact that science has on locations around the world. It is easy to overlook the cultural value of land when you want to use it for another purpose. I am very glad to hear that the university decided to set aside land that would not be disturbed.

    The video clip “Volcanoes in the Infrared” was very fascinating for me to watch. I had no idea scientists were currently using this technology on volcanoes. I am often so busy I do not read up on how scientists are using technology today. I think showing students technology helps spark their interest in class

    2. Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?

    The video clip “Living on the Coast” is amazing! This video will be perfect for cultural awareness standards. My students can relate to the three cultures shown because they also live on the water, and depend on it for food. I love anything that students can relate to, and they take away so much from it. Another great connection with their video is the fact that I grew up in Massachusetts. I will be able to talk about my own experience, and what I saw when I visited New Bedford.

    The video clip “1964 Alaska Earthquake” is great for my students because they can relate to it. They really enjoy watching and reading about anything that happens here in Alaska. My students can also relate well to the portion of the video that shows the tsunami. Living on the water it is so important for them to be aware of the danger of a tsunami. 

    3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?

    The resources on tsunamis are very useful to me because I teach about them in two different levels of science. In one on my classes I taught about tsunamis about a month ago. I wish I had these video clips then. Three of my students where having a very hard time understanding the concept of a tsunami. I love having any resource that can show concepts visually. I have found that a picture, or video clip, is worth a thousand words.

    The measuring tool on Google Earth is very useful to me. From the standpoint of teaching, but also in my own life. I have often wondered how far teacher housing is from the school. I have heard some estimates, but never knew an accurate measurement. Sometimes I am taken back by how easy things are with modern technology. With two clicks of a mouse I can measure distance anywhere around the world. That is just crazy. 
    Image taken from Google Earth

    3 Colleagues

    The first site I went to was “Dan Adair Blog Site”. I thought it was wonderful that he posted “The Electromagnetic Spectrum Song”. I used this song with my students last year and would have never guessed other teachers used it.

    The second site I went to was “Doug’s Explore Alaska Blog”. I really like how he talked about this lesson being a reminder of the power of the tectonic plates. So many things are changed, created and destroyed by their movement. It is easy for me to forget how much energy they have because I don’t see their effect first hand very often.

    I agree with Tracy about how important it is to teach our students about what to do in an emergency. On her blog “Explore Alaska” she gives some examples of different lessons that would help students if they were in an emergency situation.