Ice Cores: Unlocking Past Climates

Ice Cores: Unlocking Past Climates presents what we know and how we know about the earth’s climate with a set of five video learning modules and companion curricular resources.

The lessons begin by clarifying the difference between weather and climate; proceed to give us a closer look at glaciers and the records they hold of climatic events over extraordinarily long periods of time and show how scientists collect and study glacial ice cores to trace climate history. Students are drawn into hands-on, minds-on investigations in each learning modules.

Videos in This Series

Climate and Ice

Part I begins with a video that explains the difference between weather and climate, describes glacier formation, and identifies the types of information that can be found in the glacial record. Download teacher’s guide (PDF, 132K)

Recovering Ice Cores

How scientists look at samples of ice to determine past climates/atmospheric conditions. Download teacher’s guide (PDF, 114K)

Calendar in Ice

The ways tree rings and glaciers reveal past events and record time.
Download teacher’s guide
(PDF, 116K)

Stories in Ice

Through examining ice cores, scientists can observe and record past climate conditions without having lived in those conditions. Download the teacher’s guide (PDF, 90K)

Predictions from the Ice

By examining past trends in carbon dioxide and methane levels as well as temperatures, scientists can predict future trends through ice core samples. Download the teacher’s guide (PDF, 124K)