Antarctica’s Melting Ice
Antarctica is far away from most of the rest of the world. The changes taking place in this southernmost continent affect the rest of the globe, however. Increase awareness about climate change with a visual message crafted with white Color Explosion™ Paper and Markers.
1. Made up of ice shelves and mountains, only .32% of the Antarctic continent is ice-free. Seventy percent of the world’s fresh water is frozen there and 90% of the world’s ice can be found in Antarctica. Is it any wonder that global warming is affecting this area of our Earth at a rate five times greater than the rest of the planet? Gather facts about climate change and Antarctica, including the decrease in ice thickness, the shift in freeze-thaw times, rising water temperatures, changes in the ozone layer, and ice-shelf disintegration.
2. For a specific example of the impact of climate change, consider the Antarctic Peninsula (the northernmost area of the continent). The ice shelf, which has been stable for 12,000 years, is shattering into smaller pieces that are dispersing at an alarming speed. Delve into what happens to the rest of the world when ice melts in Antarctica.
3. Think of ways to visually represent the ecological challenge facing people on Earth today. One way would be to show how the melting Antarctic ice shelf would raise the level of seawater all over the world. Here are some suggestions for a visual presentation.
4. Divide a piece of white Color Explosion™ Paper in half. On the left side, draw the northern Antarctic Peninsula with the black outline marker. On the right side, sketch a house by the sea, far away from Antarctica. Use a Color Explosion Marker to depict the ocean’s water in both drawings. Label each side.
5. To create an interactive display, make three slits in the sheet with Crayola Scissors. Cut two following the contours of the ice shelf and another one on the right of the center line.
6. Cut a strip of white Color Explosion ™ paper to fit through the slits and long enough to slide through the display. Slide the strip into the furthest slit on the right, up through the next one and down into the last one on the left.
7. With the strip in place, repeat the drawing of the ice shelf and the house on top of the strip. Push the strip slightly to the right and draw a line of ocean color. As you keep moving the strip to the right, more ocean appears to be encroaching on the ice shelf as well as covering the house. Remember this is not to-scale illustration, but it is a visual that represents scientific evidence.
Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.
Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.
- Study some of Antarctica’s unique weather facts. For example, there are dry valleys on the continent where it hasn’t rained in at least 2 million years. Many weather world records have been set in Antarctica, such as the coldest temperatures and strongest winds.
- Make a timetable of Antarctic exploration. Think about what it must have been like for early explorers to this continent. Did they have fleece and thermal underwear to keep warm? Satellite communication? Ships with reinforced hulls to break through the ice? What challenges do today’s explorers face as they try to learn more about this isolated continent?
- With no permanent human residents and no native population, write a newspaper article about who visits Antarctica. Find out when, why, and how people get to the most isolated land on Earth. If possible, find someone in your area who has been there and conduct an interview.
- Chart global warming predictions. For example, if the ice sheets melted and oceans rose 200 feet (60 m), what areas of the world would be submerged?
- Visit www.crayola.com for more projects about the interconnectedness of the Earth’s environment including Acid Rain Viewfinder, Watershed Ways, Fragile Reefs, and others.
- Assessment: Did students uncover the major environmental changes affecting Antarctica due to global warming? Were students able to make the connection between these changes and their lives? Does the finished project visually represent some aspect of the impact of global warming on Antarctica?