Polar Literacy Principles Checklist
Please check off the main polar literacy principles that your lesson addresses.
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Polar Literacy Principles
Polar Literacy Principle #1: The Arctic and Antarctic Regions are unique because of their location on Earth.
1.A: The Arctic and Antarctic are both cold environments but geographically different.
1.D: The physical characteristics of the environment (weather, climate, topography, geology) are significantly different.
Polar Literacy Principle #2: Ice is the dominant feature of the Polar Regions.
2.A: Ice comes in many shapes and sizes—big, small, floating in water or sitting on land, thin or thick, solid or porous soft.
2.B: Ice shapes the Polar landscape.
Polar Literacy Principle #3: Polar Regions play a central role in regulating Earth’s weather and climate.
3.A: Polar oceans play a key role in global circulation of ocean water and air masses that keep the Earth temperate.
3.B: Climate is affected by changes in the amount of light from the sun that bounces off the Earth’s ice/snow covered areas back into space. Ice and snow (white surfaces) reflect sunlight back into space. Ocean and land (dark surfaces) absorb more solar energy. As snow and ice disappear, more heat is absorbed which accelerates melting of ice and snow. Scientists use the term albedo to describe the measurement of the reflectivity of the Earth's surface.
3.C: Humans rely on the Polar Regions to maintain a temperate planet.
Polar Literacy Principle #4: The Polar Regions have productive food webs.
4.B: Sea ice cover and temperature change with the seasons.
4.C: The Antarctic Food Web is simple and dependent on ice.
4.D: Polar regions have a unique and complex ecosystem.
Polar Literacy Principle #5: Humans are a part of the Polar system. The Arctic has a rich cultural history and diversity of Indigenous Peoples.
5.A: Polar systems affect humans in a variety of ways.
5.B: Arctic residents (about 4 million), including 40 different indigenous groups (about 10% of Arctic residents), are affected by changing climate, environments and food webs, from available food to sustainable buildings.
5.C: Arctic indigenous people have traditional connections to the land that they have inhabited, including reindeer herding, fishing and hunting.
5.D: Arctic indigenous people are important partners to the science community in understanding and observing the Arctic.
Polar Literacy Principle #6: The Poles are experiencing the effects of climate change at an accelerating rate.
6.A: Arctic sea ice is declining at a rapid rate.
6.B: Antarctica is experiencing less sea ice loss than in the Arctic – for now.
6.C: Warmer Polar Regions have a moister atmosphere, which leads to more snowfall.
6.D: Effects of climate change at the Poles ripple across the Earth.
Polar Literacy Principle #7: New technologies, sensors and tools -- as well as new applications of existing technologies -- are expanding scientists’ abilities to study the land, ice, ocean, atmosphere and living creatures of the Polar Regions.
7.B: Today scientists use satellites, drifting buoys, tethered buoys, subsea observatories, unmanned submersibles, and automated weather stations to constantly and remotely study the Poles.
7.C: Piecing together historical data (recorded by early explorers) with ice cores and sediment cores gives scientists an understanding of natural history.
7.F: Scientists are gathering genetic information across the whole range of Polar species, from DNA to the broad ecosystem.
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