Can ice melting in the Arctic really cause sea level rise?

Lesson overview

Students work scientifically using models to explain the impacts of Arctic ice melting. Scientist Dr Helen Findlay puts this lesson into context, sharing her experiences studying polar ice.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the wider context and learning outcomes
  • Describe how the Arctic is changing
  • Compare the impact of different types of ice melting
  • Use a model to explain (advanced)
  • Demonstrate and reflect on learning

Lesson steps

  1. Brief from Dr Helen Findlay (10 mins)
    Use the slides to set the context and share the learning outcomes. Set up the demonstration.
  2. Ice backwards and forward in time (10 mins)
    Students watch the Sea ice 1979-2012 video (see Lesson resources) and use the slides to learn how the Arctic is changing. Use the interactive world map from National Geographic ( to show students the impact of sea level rise.
  3. Is all ice equal? (20 mins)
    Using the slides, students consider the impact of different types of ice melting.
    Students observe the results of the demo and link this to different types of ice melting.
  4. Writing explanations (15 mins)
    Students demonstrate their learning by writing an explanation or completing a storyboard.
  5. Self-reflection (5 mins)
    Using the slides, students consider ‘What ifs?’ about learning in the lesson.
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