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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 65-80 minutes
  • Worksheets
  • Experiments
  • Videos, 1 minute, 13 seconds, CC
  • Videos, 38 seconds, CC

Regional Focus

North America, United States, Polar Regions


Google Docs, PDF, YouTube Video

Is Ice, Ice Baby?

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  • This hands-on activity helps students understand the difference between the melting of land-based ice versus the melting of sea ice.
  • Students will watch two brief videos, conduct an experiment, make observations, collect and analyze their data, and reflect on the results.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource includes a student worksheet and teacher guide that are available as a PDF or Google Document.
  • The lesson includes detailed instructions for the experiment and provides options for small group work.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The teacher should prepare the materials for the experiment in advance.
  • Teachers need to make a free account to access the materials.


  • This lesson could be completed in groups of 2 or more.
  • The questions on the Google Document of the student worksheet can be adjusted to ensure all students are challenged to work at their level. 
  • Advanced science classes could discuss the global effects of melting sea ice (darker water vs. bright sea ice), including the change in the albedo effect and the thermal expansion of water as it warms.  Students could hypothesize how much of an effect melting sea ice could have, given these parameters.
  • Other resources related to this topic include this experiment about the thermal expansion of water, this animated graph and map of Greenland's ice sheet over time, and this interactive resource from MIT. 

Scientist Notes

The concept of sea ice and melting ice on land is simplified in this resource. This resource is recommended.

  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS.ESS2.5 Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Social Sciences
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.44 Assess how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade, land use, and issues of sustainability.
  • Related Resources


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