Module 5:

After completing this module, you will be knowledgeable about:

  • Snowflakes
  • Snowflake Shapes
  • Snowflakes: Symmetry
  • Properties of Water
  • Water Phase Change
  • Earth’s Systems
  • Earth’s Energy Budget
  • Absorption and Reflection of Energy
  • Albedo
  • Snow as an Insulator: Snow Density
  • Energy, Temperature and Heat
  • Heat Transfer
  • Heat Flow in Water
  • Heat Flux through the Snow Cover
  • Calculating Conductive Heat Flow (Heat Flux)
  • Creating an Excel Spreadsheet to Calculate Data
  • The Role of Snow and Ice in Regulating Climate
  • Why Scientists Study Snow and Ice
  • Global Climate Change: Affects on Snow and Ice
  • The Science of Ice Freeze-up and Break-up on Rivers, Streams, and Lakes

You will be able to show your students how to:

  • Use weather data to predict the shapes of snowflakes (grades 3-8)
  • Design experiments to study snow (all grades)
  • Investigate ice freeze-up and break-up of a stream, river, or lake (grades 5-8) (Globe protocol)
  • Measure and calculate snow temperature, mass, depth, volume, and density (activities included for various grades, K-12)
  • Calculate the rate of heat flow from the ground and from ice on a lake through snow into the atmosphere (grades 5-12)
  • Use mathematics within science (all grades)
  • Create and use mathematical calculations in an excel spreadsheet (grades 5-12)

Upon completing this module, you will have all the information and tools you need to create your own activities and lesson plans. Activities and lessons plans that you can create based on the material covered in this module are also aligned to Montana state educational standards. Unless otherwise noted, the benchmarks listed are for the end of grade 4. View a complete description of benchmarks, grade level expectations and how this module aligns with each here (pdf): Snow Studies Standards & Benchmarks.


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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.