Northwest Passage

In this activity, students use Google Earth and information from several websites to investigate some of the consequences of climate change in polar regions, including the shrinking of the ice cap at the North Pole, disintegration of ice shelves, melting of Greenland, opening of shipping routes, effects on polar bears, and possible secondary effects on climate in other regions due to changes in ocean currents. Students learn to use satellite and aerial imagery, maps, graphs, and statistics to interpret trends accompanying changes in the Earth system.

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Glenn A. Richard
Mineral Physics Institute Stony Brook University
SERC On The Cutting Edge Collection

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Developed for undergraduates, this activity could also be effectively deployed in high school geography or other courses.

An educator might want to start this activity with a lesson on Google Earth.

This activity opens the opportunity to explore the economic, political, and international issues associated with an open Northwest Passage.

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