Lessons from the deep

Lesson overview

Students will learn about the importance of the Arctic Ocean in global ocean circulation and how this impacts climate. This lesson starts by revising the idea that difference in climate is based on latitude. This is followed by an investigation of how the sinking of cold salty water in the Arctic Ocean powers ocean circulation, bringing warm water from the Caribbean, as the Gulf Stream.

Learning outcomes

  • Predict how latitude affects weather and climate
  • Understand how the ocean affects weather and climate
  • Explain the process of ocean circulation
  • Communicate the importance of Arctic sea ice

Lesson steps

  1. Predicting climate (10 mins)
    Begin the lesson by revising students’ knowledge about the relationship between climate and latitude. Then introduce the concept of the ocean’s impact on climate.
  2. Ocean circulation demonstration (20 mins)
    Develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the system of ocean circulation through a short video and practical demonstration.
  3. Importance of the Arctic display (20 mins)
    Review how changes in the Arctic could affect ocean circulation and then ask students to work in groups to create a display showing the importance of the Arctic and sea ice.
  4. Why, why, why chain (10 mins)
    Promote deeper reflection using the idea of a why, why, why chain. Start with the question ‘Why should we care about the Arctic Ocean?’, asking students to justify each answer in turn.