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Topic(s):

Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Elementary (K-4)

 

Scenario:

Earth's Polar Places

The Arctic and Antarctic are cold, polar places.
With air, land, living things and water, too.
On a globe, two circles outline their spaces.

Antarctica is a continent. The Arctic, it is not.
North and South poles are magnetic.
On a globe each pole is just a dot.

Earth's poles have polar ice caps.
No, not some kind of polar hats.
If you look you can see them on polar maps.

Now take your time.
And read this rhyme.
About Earth's polar air.

Polar Air

Very cold is the polar air.
And polar weather happens there.
Take some warm clothes if you go.
Just how cold is it at forty or more below?

Polar winds blow on polar seas.
But there are no trees to catch that breeze.
Polar air puts on a show.
What is it that makes those auroras glow?

Antarctic winds blow cold air around.
But not much snow falls on the ground.
Antarctic air is cold and dry.
Arctic air, too. Do you know why?

North Pole, South Pole, both cold as ice.
Even in summer, not that nice.
And above the Antarctic and its pole
What is that? An ozone hole?

Emperor penguins are just wizards.
At surviving the Antarctic blizzards.
Polar birds fly in the cold polar air.
But do any penguins ever fly up there?

Polar air changes as seasons come and go.
It rains a little and, of course, there is some snow.
Winter. Summer. Polar air cools and warms.
But in spring are there any thunderstorms?

Not many clouds in the sky on polar nights.
Very dark even with so many stars in sight.
Arctic wolves howling at the polar Moon.
Is it the same one you might see in June?

All year round polar air goes up and down.
Over seas and over ground moving fast and all around.
If you went there on vacation, caught yourself a polar flight.
Would you pack wool jammies to stay warm at polar night?

A Polar Problem?

Polar ice is changing fast.
Some wonder if it will it last.

Antarctic ice sheets break.
Floating icebergs the pieces make.

In the Arctic sea ice floes.
Melt in summer, in winter grow.

If you know the answer, then please do share.
What does changing polar ice have to do with polar air?


Polar Air Essential Questions:
  • How is Arctic air like Antarctic air. How is it different?
  • How is polar air like air in your neighborhood? How is it different?
  • Why is polar air important to polar life?
  • How does polar air interact with polar ice?
  • How are changes in the amount of polar ice connected to changes in polar air?

With the support of NASA and in recognition and celebration of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008, this and other ESSEA modules focusing on polar topics have been created in hopes of increasing the awareness, understanding and interest of school-age children in polar conditions and research.

To view a NASA video about IPY click here.

 

Date: 5/29/2009

Scenario Images:

Polar Air
See the clouds in the polar air? See the snow on the polar land? See the ice in the polar ocean? Can you tell how the water cycle and the polar air worked together to make them form? Go here for a quick review of the Water Cycle. Image: clipart.com



Antarctic Glacier Summer
Even in summer, most of Antarctica is coverd by ice. Antarctica is the coldest place on the planet. Go here to read an e-book about Antarctic air. Use the Play button to have the book read to you. Image: clipart.com



Arctic Blizzard
This ia a picture of a blizzard on the Arctic tundra. Blowing snow and very cold temperatures are what makes a blizzard. In the Arctic and Antarctic blizzards blow snow that is already on the ground, not snow that is falling. Do you have blizzards where you live? Go here to watch a video about a blizzard (condition 1 weather) at a research station in Antarctica. Image: clipart.com



Arctic Moon Sunset
This is a picture of the Moon over the Arctic in the summer. Go here to watch a video about the melting of Arctic ice. Image: clipart.com



Auroras
Auroras light up Earth's polar skies. In the Arctic they are called the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. In the Antarctic they are called the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights. Learn more about auroras. Image: clipart.com



Resources:

 

Comparing Earth's Poles (Cycle A)
The following resources provide comparison information and more about Earth's polar regions.


Here are some sites to find some printables for your polar book, mobile and/or diorama.

 

Earth Science Basics (Cycle A)
Need information about Earth's cycles, systems and processes? These resources are for you:

  • Visit an Earth Science Museum. Use the elevator to explore the different floors and learn about Earth's systems, cycles, dinosaurs and more. For kids and teachers.
  • K-4 Earth Science Modules. Four online modules for K-4 students and teachers that include information, games and hands-on investigations exploring biomes, weather and climate, remote sensing and Earth's systems.

 

Just About Polar Air (Cycle B)
Use these resources to learn more about polar air.


 

Antarctica's Climate Secrets (Cycle C)
Complete curriculum with all the tools you'll need.

 

Beyond Polar Bears and Penguins (Cycle C)
An online magazine integrating science, literacy, and the polar regions. A goldmine for K-5 teachers. Full of activities, resources, information and classroom strategies. This issue of Beyond Polar Bears and Penguins online magazine explores Weather and Climate: From Home to the Poles. Includes misconceptions, activities, recommended books and more. Additional archived issues are available here.

 

Digital Library for Earth System Science (Cycle C)
The ultimate resource for Earth Science lesson plans, investigations and publications.

 

Home to the Poles Virtual Bookshelf (Cycle C)
Looking for polar weather and climate books? You'll find them here.

 

NASA International Polar Year for Educators (Cycle C)
One-stop site for useful classroom materials. Find videos, images, reading materials, curriculum-based lesson plans, posters, and more, all through our easy-to-use, searchable NASA Polar Express database. All of these items are free to download to support your teaching activities.

 

Understanding Science (Cycle C)
The mission of Understanding Science is to provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works. Check out the Teaching Resources page for grade level appropriate ideas and information.

 

Sample Investigations:

 

Arctic and Antarctic Air: Are they the same or different? (Cycle A)
What do you know about polar air? Want to learn more?

Read these e-books. Use the Play button to have them read to you. Pay close attention to parts that talk about polar air.

Use what you've learned from the e-books and what you can find out to complete one of the following Cycle A investigations.
For Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Make a Polar Air Book (Cycle A)
Use what you know and what you can find out to make a book about polar air.
Make a Polar Air Book for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Make a Polar Air Mobile (Cycle A)
Use what you know and what you can find out to make a mobile about polar air.
Make a Polar Air Mobile for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Polar Air in a Shoebox (Cycle A)
Use what you know and what you can find out about polar weather to make a diorama.
Polar Air in Shoebox for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Polar Air Venn Diagram (Cycle A)
Use a Venn diagram to explore how the Arctic and Antarctic air are the same and how they are different.
Venn Diagram for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Want to Connect Polar Ice to Polar Air? - Investigations Extension (Cycle A)
Now that you've completed your polar air mobile, diorama, book or Venn diagram, see how many ways you can connect polar ice to polar air.
Polar Ice and Polar Air Extension for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

What if? - Polar Ice and Polar Air Investigation Extension (Cycle A)
Polar ice is disappearing in some polar places. Think about all of the ways you connected polar air to polar ice in the Polar Ice and Polar Air extension and explore "What would it be like if?"
What if? Extension for Teachers
Difficulty: beginner

 

Learn About Polar Air (Cycle B)
Work with your team to answer your own and these Essential Questions about polar air:

  • How is Arctic air like Antarctic air. How is it different?
  • How is polar air like air in your neighborhood? How is it different?
  • Why is polar air important to polar life?
  • How does polar air interact with polar ice?
  • How are changes in the amount of polar ice connected to changes in polar air?

Difficulty: beginner

 

Design an Polar Air Investigation (Cycle C)
Using what you've learned, design an investigation that allows students to explore questions of their own and these Essential Questions about Earth's polar air.

  • How is Arctic air like Antarctic air. How is it different?
  • How is polar air like air in your neighborhood? How is it different?
  • Why is polar air important to polar life?
  • How does polar air interact with polar ice?
  • How are changes in the amount of polar ice connected to changes in polar air?

Difficulty: beginner

 

 

Standards:

  • Science
    National Science Education Standards - Science Content Standards http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/html/overview.html#content The science content standards outline what students should know, understand, and be able to do in the natural sciences over the course of K-12 education.
    • K-12 UNIFYING CONCEPTS AND PROCESSES
      The understandings and abilities associated with the following concepts and processes need to be developed throughout a student's educational experiences:
      • Systems, order, and organization
      • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • Constancy, change, and measurement
      • Evolution and equilibrium
      • Form and function
    • GRADES K-4 CONTENT STANDARDS
      • Science as Inquiry (Std A)
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • Physical Science (Std B)
        • Properties of objects and materials
        • Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
      • Earth and Space Science (Std D)
        • Properties of earth materials
        • Objects in the sky
        • Changes in earth and sky
      • History and Nature of Science (Std G)
        • Science as a human endeavor
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