Sea ice: Data analysis

Lesson overview

During the Catlin Arctic Survey 2009, the expedition team gathered snow and ice thickness data that will contribute to an understanding of the overall state of the Arctic sea ice. Students will use real data from the expedition to create ocean snow and ice profiles.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the variability of snow and ice thickness on the
    Arctic Ocean
  • Know how the data was collected and what it can show
  • Use data to create a visual representation
  • Demonstrate ability to interpret and analyse data
  • Judge the method of data collection
  • Know how field research teams communicate results
  • Be able communicate the issue and science of Arctic sea ice
  • Discuss research topics with peers

Lesson steps

  1. What is the sea ice like on the Arctic Ocean? (10 mins)
    The Arctic sea ice is not a uniform thickness. The sea ice in the Arctic moves, melts, pushes together to form rubble and draws apart to form gaps or ‘leads.’ Snow also drifts into formations called sastrugi. Introduce pupils to the different ice states.
  2. Understanding the data (10 mins)
    Use the first page of Student Sheet 7a to introduce pupils to the data collection process. Use the second page of Student Sheet 7a to explain how the data can give a profile of the Arctic sea ice and snow thickness.
  3. Creating a graph of the data (10 mins)
    Using the data on Student Sheet 7b (Monthly sea ice data and questions) or Student Sheet 7d (Daily sea ice data and questions), students should create their own sea ice and snow thickness profile on Student Sheet 7c (Monthly data record) or Student Sheet 7e (Daily data record).
  4. Interpreting and analysing the data (10 mins)
    Pupils should answer the questions on Student Sheet 7b (Monthly sea ice data and questions) or Student Sheet 7d (Daily sea ice data and questions) as relevant.
  5. Extension (20 mins)
    Use the template from Ocean Acidification Lesson 4 to develop a poster presentation of the research on Arctic sea ice.