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Bill Chapman


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


Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 58 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus

Global, Polar Regions

Why the Arctic Is Climate Change's Canary in the Coal Mine

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  • This video and article explains how melting ice and warming temperatures in the Arctic are often an early indicator for impacts elsewhere. 
  • Students will learn about positive and negative feedback loops, the albedo effect, and what melting ice in the Arctic means for the global climate. 
Teaching Tips


  • The animated video is engaging and easy to understand.
  • The interactive questions reinforce key ideas and are a great way for students to independently check their understanding. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • An ad plays before the video.
  • A TED-Ed account is needed to access the interactive questions and use the discussion feature; accounts are free but students must be 13 or older to register. 


  • Science classes could use this resource as a introduction to reflectivity, feedback loops, the albedo effect, equilibrium, or homeostasis. 
  • As an extension activity, have students research examples of other feedback loops that impact climate change and present their findings. 
  • Other related resources include this lesson on feedback loops, this article about feedback loops fueling wildfires, and this video about how a warmer Arctic will intensify global warming.
Scientist Notes
The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the globe. As such, it is seeing a larger increase in extreme weather events. This resource from TED-Ed discusses some feedback loops that affect the Arctic. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • 9-10.RST.1 Analyze what science and technical texts say explicitly as well as inferentially, citing evidence attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
      • 11-12.RST.1 Analyze what science and technical texts say explicitly as well as inferentially, citing evidence to support the analysis, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
  • Science
    • 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.
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