Life beneath the ice

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Lesson overview

The Arctic Ocean is not a barren desert, but home to a variety of life. Students will learn about the interdependence of life in the Arctic through a food web activity, before investigating how scientists study life beneath the ice. Finally, students will consider the impact that issues such as ocean acidification will have on the life that inhabits the Arctic Ocean.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide are affecting the Arctic Ocean
  • Appreciate hardships of fieldwork in an extreme environment
  • Develop understanding of life in a cold desert
  • Understand how changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide are affecting the Arctic Ocean

Lesson steps

  1. Channel 4 News (15 mins)
    Channel 4 science correspondent Tom Clarke travelled to the Ice Base to talk to the science team and find out more about their work. Watch his report and discuss the issues with students.
  2. Arctic science 5W+H (10 mins)
    Students develop questions based on a photo of digging an ice hole for Arctic research.
  3. Day in the life (10 mins)
    Using a card sort activity, students find out more about a typical day conducting fieldwork in the Arctic.
  4. Arctic food web (15 mins)
    Students conduct a food web exercise to find out the different types of living things in a cold desert, and then answer questions to understand how human activity may affect these.
  5. Reflection on the ‘other carbon problem’ (10 mins)
    Students learn about the potential impact of ocean acidification on the Arctic ecosystem and reflect on this issue and their learning in this lesson.
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