Changes Ahoof: Could Climate Change Affect Arctic Caribou?

Students run a simplified computer model to explore how climate conditions can affect caribou, the most abundant grazing animal in the Arctic.

Go To:

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Notes From Our Reviewers

The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials

Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Educators should point out the relationship between the discussed variables and caribou population: When insect activity increases (i.e. mosquitoes), a loss of blood results in a decrease in caribou population. When snow levels increase, energy consumption increases and inability to escape predators results in a decrease in caribou population.

Educators should explain the relationship between increasing snowfall and arctic warming, which is counter-intuitive and not explained.

Students need to understand percent increase and decrease in order to complete this activity; an example calculation is provided.

Educators could add other resources that explain the effect of insects and snowfall on caribou population and discuss with students. See, for example: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF13/1344.html.

Share This: 
Grade Level: 
Hide [X]