This unit allows students to investigate past changes in Earth's climate. Students first explore relationships in climate data such as temperature, solar radiation, carbon dioxide, and biodiversity. They then investigate solar radiation in more depth to learn about changes over time such as seasonal shifts. Students then learn about mechanisms for exploring past changes in Earth's climate such as ice cores, tree rings, fossil records, etc. Finally, students tie all these together by considering the feedbacks throughout the Earth system and reviewing an article on a past mass extinction event.

This video describes the role that dendrochronology plays in understanding climate change, especially changes to high elevation environments at an upper tree line. Dendrochronologists from the Big Sky Institute sample living and dead trees, describe how correlations between trees are made, and explain how tree cores record climate changes.

This video features changes in the land, sea, and animals that are being observed by the residents of Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada â many of whom hunt, trap, and fishâbecause of their long-standing and intimate connection with their ecosystem. Scientists interview the residents and record their observations in order to deepen our understanding of climate change in the polar region. Background essay and discussion questions are included.

This video is the second of three short videos showcasing the dramatic changes in Alaska's marine ecosystems. The video highlights the marine mammals and birds and how they depend on Arctic sea ice, as well as questions about how these animals will cope in the face of climate change.

This video follows biologist Gretchen Hofmann as she studies the effects of ocean acidification on sea urchin larvae.

This video provides background information and teaching tips about the history and relevance of phenology and seasonal observations of plants and animals within the context of rural Wisconsin.

In this activity, students research various topics about ocean health, e.g. overfishing, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification. An optional extension activity has them creating an aquatic biosphere in a bottle experiment in which they can manipulate variables.

This video features the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment Experiment near Cheyenne WY, where scientists expose mixed-grass prairie to higher temperatures and CO2 concentrations to study impacts on the prairie for late in this century.

In this video, students learn how scientific surveys of wildlife are performed at a site in Yosemite, California. These surveys, in conjunction with studies from the early 1900s, provide evidence that animal populations in Yosemite have shifted over time in response to rising temperatures.

In this activity from NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection, learners investigate how methane hydrates might have been involved with the Cambrian explosion.

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