The Role of Snow & Ice in Regulating Climate

Check Your Thinking: So now that you know quite a bit about ice, snow, and water, can you explain how snow and ice help to regulate global climate?   The atmosphere, water, snow, and ice work together to help keep the global temperature within a range that will support life. More importantly, these factors keep […]

Calculating Data with Excel

In order to calculate data on Heat Flux for the above activities, you need a Heat Flux calculator. The Alaska Lake Ice Observatory Network has developed such a calculator using Excel software. Two calculators are available below, one for snow data taken on frozen lakes, the other for snow data taken on the ground: Snow […]

Heat Flow in Water

So now let’s think about the movement of heat into and out of a body of water (or the ground). Check Your Thinking: What happens to the temperature of a lake over the course of the summer? What causes this to happen?   The reason that the angle of the rays is different in summer […]

Snow as an Insulator: Snow Density

As we just learned, snow is important for global climate because of its role in reflecting solar radiation. But snow and ice are also important because they slow down the escape of heat stored in bodies of water (both oceans and lakes/ponds). Certain characteristics of snow have an important impact on the rate of heat […]

Absorption & Reflection of Energy

Now, let’s think about absorption and reflection in relationship to Earth’s systems and the energy budget. The components of Earth’s systems (air, water, land, and living things) reflect and absorb solar radiation in ways that moderate the global energy budget. A simple activity that you may have done with your students is to place different […]

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Water Phase Change

A phase change is a change from one state to another without a change in chemical composition. These changes are induced by the effects of temperature and/or pressure: The transitions are: Solid-to-liquid transition – melting Liquid-to-solid transition – freezing Liquid-to-gas transition – evaporation Gas-to-liquid transition – condensation Solid-to-gas transition – sublimation Gas-to-solid transition – deposition […]

Extension Activities

There are many opportunities to extend and expand the activities listed in this module. Several examples are listed below. Extension 1 Soil Profile/Soil Card Lesson from NRCS: This simple lesson plan shows how to make soil cards from soil profiles. Extension 2 The Dirt on Soil from Discovery Education: Take a virtual microscopic safari through […]

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Creating a Soil Profile

This page describe the field protocol for characterizing soil sites and profiles. Video demonstrations follow. For your reference, you may want to download the complete text field protocol, available via the links below: Field Protocol for Characterizing Soil Sites and Profiles (pdf) Field Protocol for Characterizing Soil Sites and Profiles (doc) In order to understand […]

Measuring the Landscape

We are going to use Google Earth to look at Montana landscapes from above. Before going further, you may want to review some examples of different landforms (landform examples are available in several different formats – they all include the same examples): Landform Examples Web Format (can also be accessed using the dropdown menu at […]

Time & Landscape

News Flash! When it comes right down to it, landscape development is all about time. While water, ice, wind and plate movements carve out the hills and valleys outside our windows, time is the key factor. How long do you think it took for the U-shaped valley at the beginning of this module to form? […]

The MSP project is funded by an ESEA, Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MSP was developed by the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and faculty from Montana Tech of The University of Montana and Montana State University, with support from other Montana University System Faculty.