As an introduction to this unit, watch the video Welcome to the Klimahaus available on YouTube by the Transatlantic Outreach Program.
During a visit to the Klimahaus in Bremerhaven, students will explore global climates and observable changes in glaciation, rainfall, sea level, and surface temperatures. Students will examine claims, analyze and evaluate data, and pose questions to clarify patterns in the evidence used to support a claim. Students will conduct explorations to understand the science behind observed climate change effects.
In this unit, students travel around the globe along the eighth meridian east. The lessons begin in Bremerhaven and will take the students to Isenthal (Switzerland), Seneghe (Sardinia, Italy), Kanak (Niger), Ikenge (Cameroon), Queen Maud Land (Antarctica), Satitoa (Samoa), Gambell (Alaska, U.S.), and Hallig Langeness (Germany).
- Watch the corresponding YouTube video provided by the Transatlantic Outreach Program to learn more about each location.
- Read the background information.
- Use Google Earth to develop a sense of place.
- Analyze a climograph and describe patterns of temperature and rainfall used to classify the location climate type.
- Evaluate data and observations related to signs of climate change.
- Explore the effects of climate change.
- Explain the impacts of climate change.
- Consider responses to climate change.
- Engage in an activity.
- Bremerhaven—sea-level rise and storm surge
- Isenthal—Alpine glacial ice loss
- Seneghe—invasive species
- Ikenge—African rainforest changes
- Queen Maud Land—Antarctic ice changes
- Satitoa—sea-level rise and ocean acidification
- Gambell—Arctic sea ice loss and permafrost thaw
- Hallig Langeness—sea-level rise
Activities at Klimahaus Stations:
Bremerhaven (Germany): Students will propose a mitigation and/or an adaptation strategy for sea level rise and storm surges.
Isenthal (Switzerland): Students should learn that glacial melting and recession are associated with mudslides and rock slides in mountainous regions. They will create a virtual or a physical model to show why landslides occur when glaciers recede.
Seneghe (Sardinia, Italy): Students will create a slideshow presentation on what desertification means for the ecosystem in the affected region.
Kanak (Niger): Students should observe how vegetation could mitigate desertification.
Ikenge (Cameroon): Students will observe evapotranspiration.
Queen Maud Land (Antarctica): Students will model land ice melt.
Activity 1: For the first activity, students will model seawater expansion by designing a system.
Activity 2: For the second activity, students should model ocean acidification.
Gambell (Alaska, U.S.): Students will create a visual model of methane from thawing of permafrost.
Hallig Langeness (Germany): Students can identify materials that are the most environmentally friendly for inhabitants of the Halligen islands to use for human-made hills called terps.
Traveling with Israeli American filmmaker B. Z. Goldberg, Werner talked to people on five continents as Goldberg captured the stories of people living along the eighth meridian. Throughout the journey, Werner and Goldberg focused on local climate and the effects of climate change on the local environment and people. Their documentary captured the unexpected and unintended consequences of human activities that affect climate on a global scale.
Goldberg’s eighty-one documentary film segments are the focal points for exhibits at the Klimahaus, a unique interactive experience on the eighth meridian in Bremerhaven, Germany. Opened in 2009, the Klimahaus interactive experiences are constantly updated to reflect the latest scientific findings. To do so, Klimahaus partners with some of the most prestigious climate research organizations in Germany, including the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, the German Weather Service, and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
Visitors to the museum explore climate and climate change mechanisms. Although students will not experience the Klimahaus in person, they can gather information using the unit readings.
- Climate Change Taking a Big Bite Out of Alpine Glaciers
- Global Ice Viewer at NASA Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet
- Climate Change in Switzerland
- Extreme Weather on the Rise in Europe
- Rapidly Warming Mediterranean Headed for Desertification, Study Warns
- NASA Vital Signs Climate Time Machine
- Indoor or outdoor plant (depending on your local weather conditions and climate)
- Clear plastic bag
- String, twist tie, or tape
- Magnifying glass, smartphone camera magnifier lens, or portable USB microscope
- Scientists Examine How Africa’s Rainforests Will Fare as the Climate Changes
- Global Climate Change NASA Vital Signs
- Ice cube tray
- Distilled water
- Blue food coloring
- 1-liter plastic bottle
- Access to a freezer
- Eindrücke aus dem Ewigen Eis: die NEUMAYER-STATION III
- Study: ‘Major Decline in Antarctic Penguin Population
- Ice Sheets
- 500-ml Erlenmeyer flask
- Rubber stopper with glass tube and flexible tubing
- Test tube or small beaker
- Salt water
- Baking soda
- Bromothymol blue
- What Is Coral Bleaching?
- Everything You Need to Know about Coral Bleaching and How We Can Stop It
- Sea Level Rise
- NASA Global Climate Change Vital Signs of the Planet
Key Literacy Connections
Relevant Domain(s) of Disciplinary Core Ideas
ESS3.D. Global Climate Change
Science and Engineering Practices
Asking Questions and Defining Problems: Ask questions to identify and clarify evidence of an argument.
Stability and Change: Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
- Describe Germany’s commitment to addressing climate change on a national and global scale.
- Identify the effect of natural events and human activities on global climates.
- Ask questions that identify and clarify evidence of an argument.
- Analyze climate and climate change impacts in their own community.
- Create visual representations of their evidence.
- Communicate their findings using evidence to support their claims.
- Use evidence to structure an argument for action that can be taken to adapt to or mitigate effects of climate change in their community.
How do our actions at home contribute to climate change around the globe?
In groups, students will make a presentation or short film on how their actions, actions by their community, and actions by their country contribute to global threats of climate change. They should use evidence from what they have learned along longitude 8° 34’ E.
Students will share their presentation or film by presenting it to their class, their school, and key community members (e.g., local government officials).
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2022). English Language Arts Standards Writing Grade 6-8. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/WHST/6-8/#CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.8
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2022). Standard for Mathematical Practice Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP2/
National Science Teaching Association. (2014). Disciplinary Core Ideas Earth and Space Science – Global Climate Change. Retrieved from https://ngss.sdcoe.net/Dimensions-of-the-NGSS/Disciplinary-Core-Ideas/DCI-Earth-and-Space-Sciences/ESS3D-Global-Climate-Change
Next generation Science Standards. (2022). 3. Weather and Climate. Retrieved from https://www.nextgenscience.org/topic-arrangement/3weather-and-climate