Lesson Plans

Climate Change Transforms Arctic Ecosystem [15 minutes]

The Helmer Hanssen explored the Polar Night in January 2018. Screenshot from Vox.

The Helmer Hanssen explored the Polar Night in January 2018. Screenshot from Vox.



  1. As a class, do a word association for each term.
    • Arctic
    • Climate Change
  2. Are there any terms or words on both lists?
  3. Have you heard about climate change in the Arctic?
    • Where did you hear about it?
    • What did you learn?

Videos and Discussion:

1. Watch one of Eli Kintisch’s video from the THAW series or divide into three groups and have each one watch a different video.

2. As a class, discuss:

  • Why did Kintisch travel to the Arctic?
  • Who did he travel with for this story? What are they studying?
  • What is the video about?
  • How is climate change impacting the Arctic Ocean and its ecosystem?
  • How are changes in the Arctic impacting the rest of the planet?
  • How does Kinitsch incorporate scientific facts and statistics into his video?

Wrap-up and Extension Activities:

1. Think back to the introduction and what you said you knew about climate change in the Arctic. Did you learn something new about the topic?

2. What do you think of the way Kinitsch used scientific facts and statistics to support his story?

3. Think about how science is presented in reporting that you read and watch. Next week, bring in one example of science reporting you like and one you do not like. Why do you think one example was successful in communicating a science topic and the other was not?

Educator Notes: 

Write the students’ answers for the introduction questions on the board or a large piece of paper so that they can refer back to what they said.

For a quicker exercise, limit the discussion and wrap-up questions.

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