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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 58 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Polar Regions


YouTube Video

Why Scientists Are So Worried About This Glacier

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  • This video explains how the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is falling apart, directly impacting sea level rise. 
  • Students will learn that while the ice shelf of the Thwaites Glacier is sea ice, the glacier itself is land ice because it rests on the bedrock of the continent. 
  • The video explains that eliminating greenhouse gas emissions could slow the glacier's collapse. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video provides excellent illustrations for visual learners.
  • A wide variety of maps will help students understand Antarctica's topography.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video begins with an advertisement.
  • Students will need to understand the difference between sea ice and land ice. This lesson from ACE will teach students about both types of ice.


  • Biology classes could learn more about the Thwaites Glacier ecosystem to find out how the disappearance of the ice shelf is impacting wildlife.
  • Social studies and geography classes could discuss what three meters of sea level rise would mean for coastal communities around the world. Students could discuss the following questions:
    • What would happen to the people who live in coastal communities if their communities were underwater?
    • If places such as Miami, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, and New York City disappear, what happens to the culture of those places?
    • Do you think it is more important to invest money into preparing coastal communities for rising sea levels or to invest money into finding alternatives to fossil fuel use? Why?
  • Other resources on this topic include this NASA video on ice loss in Antarctica between 2002-2020, this article on the future of sea level rise, and this interactive simulation about glaciers.
Scientist Notes
The collapse of the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is an ongoing, potentially catastrophic issue for sea level rise. While many scientists disagree about when it will happen, it is very clear that it is in danger of happening, and the only solution is to curb global warming. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • 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.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 6.ESS3.5 Ask clarifying questions based on evidence about the factors that have caused climate change over the past century.
      • HS.ESS3.5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems.
  • Social Sciences
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.48 Determine the influence of long-term climate change and variability on human migration, settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.
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