Glacier (?) National Park

This activity engages learners in examining data pertaining to the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park. After calculating percentage change of the number of glaciers from 1850 (150) to 1968 (50) and 2009 (26), students move on to the main glacier-monitoring content of the module--area vs. time data for the Grinnell Glacier, one of 26 glaciers that remain in the park. Using a second-order polynomial (quadratic function) fitted to the data, they extrapolate to estimate when there will be no Grinnell Glacier remaining (illustrating the relevance of the question mark in the title of the module).

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University of South Florida Judy Mcllrath
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum/SERC

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

While developed for undergraduate students, this activity would be great in an Algebra I math class in addition to a science class. Many students will need guidance through the graphing part of the activity.

It would be helpful to link to a geologic time table as well as descriptions of plant biome types for students to look at as they work their way through the first part of the activity.