A warming world?

Lesson overview

The melting of the summer sea ice is providing new opportunities for accessing natural resources in the Arctic and using the Arctic Ocean as a maritime trade route. Students will be introduced to some of the political and commercial pressures facing the Arctic as well as finding out how they can stay engaged in the region using technology.

Learning outcomes

  • Consider the future of an ice-free Arctic
  • Discuss the geopolitics of the Arctic
  • Argue how the Arctic should be governed
  • Communicate geographical information using social media
  • Demonstrate Arctic knowledge

Lesson steps

  1. Arctic opportunities (10 mins)
    Students interpret maps to learn how the melting of the Arctic sea ice is providing opportunities for increased economic activity in the region.
  2. Arctic geopolitics (10 mins)
    Students investigate which countries lie within the Arctic Circle and learn about the concept of Exclusive Economic Zones, including the importance of geology in establishing these.
  3. Who should decide the future of the Arctic? (20 mins)
    Students develop an extended written argument, using paragraphs, as to how the Arctic should be governed and who should make decisions about its future.
  4. Contacting the Arctic (10 mins)
    Each year, Encounter Edu conducts Arctic Live, an opportunity for students to ask questions to Arctic expedition members and polar scientists. Students see if they can answer questions from previous years and pose some of their own.
  5. Cold seat challenge (10 mins)
    Using the questions devised by students, class members are invited to see how many they can answer sitting in the ‘cold seat’.