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.

Using real data from NASA's GRACE satellites, students will track water mass changes in the U.S., data that measures changes in ice, surface and especially groundwater. The background information includes an animated video about where water exists and how it moves around Earth, as well as short video clips to introduce the GRACE mission and explain how satellites collect data. Students will estimate water resources using heat-map data, create a line graph for a specific location, then assess trends and discuss implications.

This activity illustrates the importance of water resources and how changes in climate are closely linked to changes in water resources. The activity could fit into many parts of a science curriculum, for example a unit on water could be connected to climate change.

This video focuses on the conifer forest in Alaska to explore the carbon cycle and how the forest responds to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. Topics addressed in the video include wildfires, reflectivity, and the role of permafrost in the global carbon cycle.

This is a collection of five short videos that show how climate change is affecting fishing, native populations and access for the oil and gas industry in the Arctic. The videos include personal reflections by writers Andrew C. Revkin and Simon Romero, scientists, and residents about their experience of the impacts of the climate change in the Arctic.

In this video from the Polaris Project Website, American and Siberian university students describe their research on permafrost.

This article and slide show from the New York Times, features several scientists from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who study the effects of thawing permafrost in Alaska.

In this activity, students examine the effects of hurricanes on sea surface temperature using NASA data. They examine authentic sea surface temperature data to explore how hurricanes extract heat energy from the ocean surface.

This video, from Yale Climate Connections, explores the 2014 melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet that captured headlines. Interviews, animations, and news broadcasts explore what the melting meant for both the future of some of the Antarctic glaciers and sea level rise, and informs the viewer how seafloor terrain influences the speed of ice sheet melt.