Black Ice - A Slippery Arctic Road

In this series of activities students investigate the effects of black carbon on snow and ice melt in the Arctic. The lesson begins with an activity that introduces students to the concept of thermal energy and how light and dark surfaces reflect and absorb radiant energy differently. To help quantify the relationship between carbon
and ice melt, the wet lab activity has students create ice samples both with and without black carbon and then compare how they respond to radiant energy while considering implications for the Arctic.

Go To:

DeeDee Whitaker
Katherine Whang

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

The lesson could be very easily altered to allow for a more authentic, student-driven, investigative approach to answering questions about black carbon if some of the background information is left to the end or strategically cut down.

Do the wet labs before you show the videos or have students read as they outline concepts before having a chance to engage with them and come to their own conclusions.