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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Worksheets
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Polar Regions


Google Docs

ACE Report: How to Get Past Temperature from an Ice Core

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  • This brief text explains how to get past temperatures from an ice core and provides a basic explanation of isotopes.
  • This resource includes a student worksheet that features comprehension questions and a link to additional isotope information from NASA.
Teaching Tips


  • This reading could help students understand how past temperatures are estimated using ice cores.

Additional Prerequisites 

  • Students will need to have a basic scientific understanding of the parts of an atom.
  • Teachers will need to make a free account to access the materials.


  • Using the Google Document the teacher can adjust the questions for understanding to ensure that students at various levels are being challenged at the appropriate level.
  • As an extension, students could read the article linked.
  • A teacher could use this resources as a way to activate students' prior chemistry knowledge or to provide all students with a base understanding of paleoclimatology using ice cores.
  • Similar resources include this video about ice cores, this lesson about isotopes, and video showing scientists taking ice cores.
Scientist Notes
Students will be able to estimate past temperatures from ice cores using isotopes of oxygen and carbon (fractionation) to understand their behavior and rate of decay. This resource is recommended to teach paleoclimatology.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • 11-12.RST.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • HS.PS1.5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
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