The Arctic Weekly assignment

An important part of the Arctic Studies class will be keeping up-to-date with current happenings related to the Arctic (and Antarctic) region.  

To start the year, I am asking each student to monitor at least 5 online sources that are somehow related to the Arctic/Antarctic.  These sources should be updated regularly, and can be tailored to suit each individual’s interests.

Each week, each student will identify one post or article that she found interesting and write at least one paragraph related to the post (what she learned, what it made her think about, what she would like to know more about, how it relates to class, etc.).  She will keep a running collection of her weekly write-ups in a google document that is shared with me.

A little humor related to our first Arctic weekly assignment:


(articles in arctic studies?  aren’t they called arcticles?)

In our first week, students were able to find great information that interested them, and they wrote about such varied topics as: the new Antarctic marine life Atlas, the release of carbon into the atmosphere when ice melts, shipping lanes and oil drilling, polar bear tracking, satellite measurements of sea ice extent, emperor penguins, overfishing, and the status of the west Antarctic ice sheet.  Wow – good stuff! 

Here is one student’s weekly paragraph:

New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at ‘unprecedented rate’:

Firstly, I’m amazed with the precision of the data that the researchers have collected with the satellite. It is shocking to read that both the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica – which are called “ice sheets” collectively – are melting at a rate of 500 cubic kilometers per year. Something very interesting that I didn’t know is that “Antarctic bedrock supports 61% of the planet’s fresh water”. However, I’d like to learn more about the detailed reasons why these ice caps are melting at the highest rate recently, and how these speedy meltings would affect the surrounding ocean currents.

This coming week we will create a class Concept Map about the Arctic, and we will look at different Arctic definitions and see if we can develop one that works best for us.


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