Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students investigate what happens when rising temperatures cause ice on land and in the sea to melt. They conduct two experiments, one looking at sea ice and the other looking at land ice and observe how the melting of this ice affects the sea level.

Earth Hour LogoFollowing this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to take part in Earth Hour. You’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand the difference between sea ice and land ice.
  • Students recognise that melting land ice will affect sea levels, but that melting sea ice won’t cause as much of a rise in sea levels.
  • Students understand that simple science experiments can be used to demonstrate these differences clearly.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 3 Science

  • A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)
  • With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and predict what might happen based on prior knowledge (ACSIS053)
  • Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS215)
  • Reflect on the investigation, including whether a test was fair or not (ACSIS058)

Year 4 Science

  • With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and predict what might happen based on prior knowledge (ACSIS064)
  • Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS216)
  • Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways such as diagrams, physical representations and simple reports (ACSIS071)

Syllabus OutcomesST2-4WS, ST2-12MW

Topic: Climate change

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – conduct experiment, facilitate discussion and oversee activity

Resources required: Ice cubes, waterproof tray, plastic sheet, sticky tape, scissors, water, black marker, ruler long enough to fit most of the width of the tray, gravel (optional), internet access, student worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, infographic creation (e.g. Piktochart), DIY infographic background information.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Sea ice, ice bergs, land ice, melting, experiment, Antarctica, Arctic.

 

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goal: In this activity students investigate what happens when rising temperatures cause ice on land and in the sea to melt. Students will understand the difference between sea ice and land ice and will recognise that melting land ice will affect sea levels, but that melting sea ice won't cause as much of a rise in sea levels.

Teacher content information: Rising levels of greenhouse gases being trapped our atmosphere are causing our atmosphere to warm up (global warming). One of the results of this warming is melting ice at our poles. While this melting ice will dramatically affect the poles it will also affect sea levels. However, not all ice will have the same affect: land ice flowing into the sea will cause the total volume of water in the ocean to rise, while ice already in the sea will have a much lower effect on sea levels.

Hot tips: This activity can be conducted as a class wide experiment, or students can work in groups to conduct thi

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Does the water level in your glass go up, down or stay the same when the ice cubes melt?

Making predictions

In this activity you will be looking at how sea levels are affected by melting sea ice (such as icebergs) and melting land ice (ice that is found on land in places like Antarctica and Greenland). Before you begin the experiment, you need to describe what you think will happen to the sea level.

What do you think will happen to the sea level when the sea ice melts?

 

What do you think will happen to the sea level when the ice on the land melts and flows into the sea?

Reflection questions

What happened to the sea level when the sea ice melted? Did it go up, down or stay level?

 

What happened to the sea level when the land ice melted? Did it go up, down or stay level?

 

Can you imagine what would happen to the sea if all the ice in the Arctic melted?

 

What would happen if all the ice in the Antarctic melted?

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