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Going Beyond Earth Day to Look at Ice on Our Planet

Posted on April 25 2021

Going Beyond Earth Day to Look at Ice on Our Planet

Dear Educators,

You will have celebrated Earth Day this past week on the 22nd, but at Maps 101, we want to take your students beyond Earth Day itself to help them learn the importance of being stewards of planet Earth in their future. One indicator of Earth’s health is the condition of ice on the planet. Scientists keep their eyes on Earth’s ice because it is melting faster, most likely due to climate changes brought on by human interaction.

Geography News Network

At one time, scientists thought ice shelves were relatively stable. Ice shelves are floating sheets of ice that connect to a glacier resting on a land mass. Most ice shelves are in Antarctica. Sheets of ice extending from melting glaciers float on the seawater. They form along the coasts and can survive for thousands of years. However, warming oceans are causing the bottoms of ice shelves to melt more quickly. Eventually there are fractures and separation, creating icebergs. Over time, the ice completely melts, making sea levels rise and lessening the amount of ice on Earth. Have students learn more about this process in this fascinating Geography News Network article.

Iceberg Infographic

Maps101’s exclusive infographic on icebergs will ensure your students understand this important topic. Visual learners especially will be able to make connections among what they have read in the article above, seen in the accompanying map with GNN, and their visual analysis of the infographic, to fully understand ice on Earth.


 FieldTrip Library

To extend students’ understanding of the effects of climate change, project the Climate Change Field Trip on the board. Each point of interest is highlighted on a map for direct context to place. Each place includes an image or graphic and written content that explains what students need to know to easily grasp this complex topic. Look, too, for More Information at each point of interest. Field Trips provide students with an interactive, complete tour of a wide variety of topics. Look for dozens of trips on Maps101.


This new map, made especially for Earth Day 2021, shows the path an iceberg, known as C19A, has followed over the course of time. It also shows the locations and movement of other major icebergs. 


Creating a Climate Change Seminar for Project-Based Learning There are 14 points of interest (POI) in the Climate Change Field Trip. Divide the class into appropriate groups if needed and assign individuals or groups one of the POIs to further research. They should provide images, captions, and text, to create a slideshow that delves deeper into their topic. Then, hold a Climate Change Seminar for the school. Travel through the Maps 101 Field Trip and stop along the way to allow students to show their expanded research on each point of interest. After the seminar presentation, hold a Q&A session and allow your students to be the “experts” to answer the questions from the audience. If there are any questions that need additional research, write down the questions and have your experts research to find the answers. Then, create a newsletter that asks and answers these questions and distribute it to attendees.

Summarizing Project this week’s map of iceberg tracks on the board. Referring to the map and what students have learned in the GNN article on “Melting Antarctica” and the iceberg infographic, ask them to summarize how icebergs form and explain what an ice shelf is. 

Asking and Answering Questions to Make Maps Have students develop their own inquiries as to why a map like this week’s is helpful to scientists. Then, have them research to answer their own questions. Once they understand the characteristics that make maps important, they can then create their own maps. Have them decide what they think would also be helpful to scientists as a map. Make sure they explain in a paragraph why they think the subject of their map is important, and include it in the map key. Display their maps in class.

High-quality geography products for the classroom. From globes to wall maps, atlases to games, offers a wealth of products to help put your classroom on the map.
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