lesson plan- Ms. Halvorson

I plan to do a lesson plan on Glaciers for the Southeast region.  The idea is to ask the students what they already know about glaciers because for the majority of them, it’s in their backyard.  Then, depending on the information they already know, teach them some new elements about glaciers.  Including why the glaciers are blue is fun (in my opinion) so how is glacier ice different than the ice in your freezer?  I can use the iBook to help show what calving is (video).  I can also have before and after pictures of glaciers over time.  I would like to add something on how erratics occur and what that tells people/scientist.  I would like to have an eye-opening idea on how fast glaciers are really shaping the land too. I can add graphs that digress on what the actual receding rate of the local glaciers are and ponder on what that might mean for Alaska/Alaskans and the earth.  And I would like to find some storytelling from the Natives to see what importance this has/had on them.  As far as an activity, I was thinking something with the receding rate or maybe showing them, in pictures, what glaciated land looks like and then put up some for them to decide if the land was glaciated or not.

Objective: Have students grasp how important glaciers are to the land, culture, and the people surrounding the glacier.

  1. Intended audience is Alaskan 8th grade science classroom.
  2. I think this lesson would fill up an entire class period but maybe I need to add more??
  3. Essential question: What do you think Alaska would look like in 100 years?  Or what kind of effect do the glaciers melting have on culture and land?  Or what kind of impact have that glaciers had on the culture and land (1000 years go and modern day)?
  4. Glacier calving video , lots of the pictures here , or here , glacier retreat information , reading the glacier storytelling in The Blonde Indian, native artwork with glaciers in them.
  5. explain in the beginning

I’m open for any advice, critiquing or input on material!  I think glaciers are so neat and I hope to get that across to the students too.  I know some/most have grown up with a glacier in their backyard but to stop and really think about what they have contributed to the land and culture here could be really eye-opening.

4 thoughts on “lesson plan- Ms. Halvorson”

  1. I love it! I remember when I was in gradeschool someone brought in a chunk of glacier ice (not sure how/if it was legal, but there you go) and we compared it to regular ice with touch/taste(?)/smell and also how fast it melted. I don’t know how kosher this activity would be these days, but if you wind up somewhere a glacier IS really close it might be fun to incorporate a lesson with a field trip!

  2. Glaciers are a great subject area to focus on. Perhaps you could create an activity where students had to match the landform to the physical forces that created it. I’m from a glacial area in upstate NY and got used to seeing drummonds and moraines (I think I have that right). Could be compared with volcanic activity, for example.

    Might also enhance the lesson with some indigenous stories about glaciers

  3. Katie- I’m happy you are taking on the challenge of this ambitious lesson and incredibly relevant issue.
    Students in my high school class this past semester studied glacier recession. A cool approach to this: they put out a public service announcement to the community asking for people who had hiked the Baranof Basse Glacier to send pictures from their hike. They collected personal pictures from several decades and put them into a Powerpoint where they could see visible recession.
    That’s a fair amount of work, but a cool approach that really got the students thinking about how glacier recession was happening right around them.

    1. Devin, cool idea to crowdsource photos of the glacier. You could try a similar thing using tags in Flickr

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