Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 9, 10
Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: text complexity, informational text, glacier, glacier melt, Peruvian Andes, drones, unmanned aerial vehicle, climate research, groundwater system, water security
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Explain how the construction of custom-built UAVs is an innovative solution to the problems scientists faced in studying high-altitude glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.
- Describe how the UAVs are significant in helping scientists conduct climate research in the Peruvian Andes.
- Using the early findings of the scientists, list the ways in which the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range are changing.
- Explain the interconnected relationship between glaciers, melt water, the groundwater system, and the water needs of the people living in the Cordillera Blanca region.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- Students should have some general knowledge about glaciers.
- Almost all glacial ice on Earth occurs within the polar regions of the planet, which are areas dominated by vast sheets of ice. However, glaciers are also found in the high mountain ranges of every continent other than Australia and in 47 countries.
- Glaciers cover approximately 10 percent of the Earth’s surface.
- Glaciers often appear bright blue because blue light is scattered rather than absorbed by ice and due to the lack of air bubbles present in a large mass of compressed ice.
- Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers.
- Students should have an understanding of the water cycle and what role glaciers and melt water from glaciers play in the water cycle.
- The water cycle describes the movement of water on and above the Earth. This NASA is a good resource for basic information on the water cycle including a diagram. There is no starting point or end point for the water cycle, but rather it describes the constant cycling of water.
- When water falls as precipitation, one possible outcome in the water cycle is that the water is accumulated in glacial snow or ice and stored. At some point, this water can melt and thus continues in the water cycle as glacial meltwater.
- Glaciers are the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth, providing about 75 percent of the world's water supply.
- Many glaciers in areas where seasonal temperature variation occurs store water as ice during the winter and release it during warmer, summer months. This "meltwater" is an important water source for plants, animals, and humans.
- Students should have some understanding of climate change and the effects of climate change.
- As the Earth gets warmer, it is causing glaciers to melt. Scientists agree that human activity, like burning of fossil fuels and the resulting build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, has influenced the warming of the Earth. One visible effect of climate change is on the world's water resources.
- As the Earth's temperature rises and ice melts, more water flows to the seas from glaciers and ice caps, the ocean water warms, and expands and increases in volume. As sea levels rise, this could negatively impact those who live along the world's coastlines as well as marine and terrestrial ecological communities.
- Warmer temperatures can cause glaciers to melt faster than they can accumulate new snow. That is, more meltwater is lost during warmer seasons than is replaced by snow and ice in the colder seasons.
- If the Antarctic ice sheet, a massive 40 million year old glacier, were to melt in its entirety, scientists estimate a global sea level rise of over 200 feet would result.
- Students should have some understanding about different types of light (the article mentions how on-boardsensorsintheUAVs map earth in visible light, near infrared, and infrared, and the article mentions use of time-lapse thermal cameras).
- Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes many different types of energy waves from radio waves to gamma rays.
- Electromagnetic radiation can be described as fluctuations in electric and magnetic fields that transport energy at varying wavelengths and frequencies.
- Visible light is simply visible waves that can be detected by the human eye.
- This NASA link is a good source for basic information on the electromagnetic spectrum including a helpful diagram that includes visible light and infrared waves.
- This link from NASA provides helpful information teachers might want to use in building their own content knowledge on the water cycle and the water cycle and climate change. It also includes a detailed graphic of the water cycle teachers could use with students.
- The article used in this lesson ("Three Miles High: Using Drones to Study High-Altitude Glaciers") has a brief but important reference to water security. This link provides information on glacier melt and water security, and even references the country of Peru and provides a graphic teachers might want to incorporate into the lesson.)
- This link also provides a poster that details what water security is. Teachers could use this with students if desired.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text.
- For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Based on the writing rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. To help students with use of transitions, teachers might wish to share lists from this link with students.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- In what ways is the construction of custom-built UAVs an innovative solution to the problems scientists faced in studying high-altitude glaciers in the Peruvian Andes?
- How are UAVs significant in helping scientists conduct climate research in the Peruvian Andes?
- How are the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range changing?
- Why is the monitoring and mapping of glaciers important?
- What role do glaciers play in the water cycle and how could their disappearance affect the people who live in the Cordillera Blanca region?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin by discussing drones. Ask the students if they know from experience, from news reports, or other media sources what drones are and what are they used for?
- Let students discuss what they have heard about drones with their shoulder partner and another student sitting close to them. After about 5 minutes have the class come up with a definition for drones and provide some examples for how they can be used.
- Explain that a drone, in a technological context, is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Essentially, a drone is a flying robot. The aircraft may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in their embedded systemsworkinginconjunctionwithGPS. UAVs have most often been associated with the military, but they are also used for search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, and fire fighting, among other things.
- More recently, the unmanned aircraft have come into consideration for a number of commercial applications. In late 2013, Amazon announced a plan to use drones for package delivery in the not-too-distant future. Personal drones are also becoming increasingly popular, often for drone-based photography. Other applications include drone surveillance and drone journalism because the unmanned flying vehicles can often access locations that would be impossible for a human to get to.
- Explain to students that in the article they are going to read, scientists are using custom-built drones to conduct climate research by studying high-altitude glaciers in the Peruvian Andes. Teachers can use this to show students two images of the drones the students at Ohio State University custom-built for this research.
- Next, tell students that in the article they are going to read, scientists were able to collect data on the local water cycle, specifically the groundwater systems near a Peruvian mountain range, by using drones to study glaciers.
- Ask students to recall what they know about the water cycle.
- If students are struggling to remember details of the water cycle, consider asking students to list the "action words" that punctuate it. (e.g. evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff)
- Next, ask students to describe the "storage units" of the water cycle. (clouds, glaciers, oceans, lakes, rivers, groundwater)
- Next, focus the discussion on the portion of the water cycle involving glaciers and groundwater. Ask students what they think happens to water returning to Earth's surface as precipitation.
- Students are likely to remember that water arriving on Earth’s surface through precipitation often flows to and is subsequently stored in bodies of water such as oceans, rivers, streams, and lakes. However, remind them if necessary that there are other possible outcomes for precipitation. For example, it can be stored as glacial snow or ice. It can also infiltrate Earth's surface and end up under the Earth as groundwater. Make sure that students understand that water stored in glacial snow or ice may ultimately melt and continue to move through the water cycle by flowing on Earth's surface toward larger bodies of water or infiltrating the groundwater supply.
- Teachers may want to use the water cycle graphic in this link as a visual aide when reviewing the water cycle.
- Take a few minutes to discuss glaciers with students.
- Students should recognize that glaciers are made of large amounts of ice and snow. This video is less than 2 minutes long and might be a great quick introduction to the basics of glaciers.
- Ask students to think about what kind of measurements from a glacier could indicate climate change (e.g. temperature, the amount of ice that is thinning, the amount and speed of melting, the amount a glacier is receding). You might also ask students how easy they expect it might be for scientists to take the above measurements and what they anticipate any challenges could be.
- Then, use a globe or map and explain where glaciers can be found. Show where the Andes Mountains are, and where Peru is on the map and explain that glaciers can be found there. In the article they are about to read, the scientists' work focuses on high-altitude glaciers in the Peruvian Andes. Teachers might want to show the pictures from this that show the Cordillera Blanca mountain range and a lake formed by glacial melt in this mountain range.
- End the discussion by telling the students that they are going to look at how drones are helping scientists understand more about climate and water supply by collecting data on glaciers that would be difficult for humans to otherwise obtain.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the article "Three Miles High: Using Drones to Study High-Altitude Glaciers."
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Three Miles High: Using Drones to Study High-Altitude Glaciers
- Subtitle: Project to study largest repository of ice in the tropics
- Caption: Located under the opening photograph
- Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text, or immediately after their first reading of the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor as students work and provide support and guidance as needed. Note:
- Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words (like use of context clues and/or a dictionary). For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary or a glossary from their science textbook to define the words. Students should be given access to print or online dictionaries to define words on the note-taking guide.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, and possibly a grade. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students may think that all glacial meltwater is "bad" and indicative of overall glacial recession and global climate change. Be sure students understand that meltwater from alpine glaciers is not only normal but is an exceptionally important source of water for humans. Rather, it is the amount of water being lost annually in combination with the amount being replaced that can be indicative of overall glacier decline over time.
- Students may think that glaciers do not move. Glaciers typically move very slowly over time. Glacial movement can drastically reshape the landscape including carving valleys and creating lakes.
- Students may believe that scientists disagree that humans are causing the Earth’s climate to change. In fact, there is incredibly strong scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and glacier recession and loss is one well-established consequence.
- Students may expect that a drought resulting from loss of the glacier would be the main negative outcome affecting the people of the Cordillera Blanca region. While this may ultimately be the case, extreme flooding resulting from increased glacial meltwater is likely to occur first.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Give students a copy of the text-dependent questions. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
How will you check for student understanding? (Formative Assessment):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and a grade. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key included at the end of the text-dependent questions to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Where applicable, these are located in the sample answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt: Be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on anoverheadorwithanLCD projector. Teachers may want to:
- Point out how the opening sentences of the introduction briefly list ways that glaciers are important to people and the environment. Tell students that the reader should expect to see these discussed in more detail in the body paragraphs. Help students to see how this information connects back to the writing prompt.
- Have students identify use of textual specifics to support each of the main ideas listed in the body paragraphs (the main ideas: monitoring glaciers to learn about the climate, monitoring glaciers because they are important to the water cycle, and monitoring glaciers because they are important to the economy).
- Have students identify use of transitions at the start of paragraphs and in the midst of paragraphs to make the ideas flow more smoothly.
- Have students identify accurate use of some domain-specific words (e.g., water cycle, receding glaciers, ice cores, groundwater, melt water).
- Finally, close the lesson by asking students to consider the future and engaging the class in a discussion. Have students describe the ways they think this research can help this region in the Peruvian Andes as well as other regions perhaps facing similar challenges. While the consequences of glacier recession may be somewhat inevitable at this point, ask students what steps they think vulnerable communities can take to preserve water security.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
The Prompt: In a multi-paragraph response, cite evidence from the text to explain how monitoring glaciers, including the glaciers in the Peruvian Andes, is important to people and to the environment.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting the Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
- Before students read the article, it might benefit students to show them this titled "Innovation in the Andes" made by Ohio State University that describes the climate studies scientists are conducting in Peru. The video is made by the same researchers featured in the article, and it provides some visuals of how the UAVs work.
- To help students understand how melting glaciers in the Andes is affecting people in this part of the world, both economically and through available water supplies, the teacher could show this video titled "Melting Glaciers: The Slow Disaster in the Andes" from the World Bank or this video from the World Bank titled "Climate Change, Peru: Retreating Glacier.
- This video provides a good visual reference of the enormous scale of glacial movement and is quite captivating to watch. It demonstrates an extremely large glacial calving event (large chunks of ice breaking off from the end of a glacier). Please mute it at about 30-45 seconds due to an expletive but otherwise the narration is helpful.
- For struggling readers: It might help struggling readers if the text is broken into two parts. The first part could end on page two after the paragraph where the author describes how glaciers are a major international and domestic tourist draw. Have students independently read part one, and then have some strong readers read part one aloud. Have students work in pairs or small groups and complete the note-taking guide (vocabulary and questions) that just cover items found in part one. Students can then share out their responses, receive verbal corrective feedback from the teacher, and students can make corrections to their work. This process could then be repeated for part two.
- For struggling writers: It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Topic sentence (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper’s overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected domain-specific vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s).
- Students can research other ways UAVs are being used today. Students can research the laws and regulations regarding use of drones in populated areas and near airports.
- A challenging extension to this lesson would be asking students to research and prepare a water management plan for an alpine region affected by glacier recession. Students could choose a real location such as the region highlighted in this article or describe a hypothetical location. The students could provide a timeline and describe the major changes in climate and water supply anticipated to occur, as well as a strategy for mitigating these effects and maintaining water security.
Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones
- A student or student's family member might own a drone that can be demonstrated on the school's athletic field.
- The public relations department of a local law enforcement agency might have a drone to demonstrate for your students.
- For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Cyndee Palacios
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Escambia
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.