This article explains that the ice shelves in Canada are rapidly disintegrating as the result of climate change and how this is a harbinger of more drastic climate developments.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

This lesson is designed to be applicable to both online and classroom learning situations. As such, the most appropriate way to begin this lesson is to simply state that climate change and its impact are the focus of the lesson and the first step is to read the article. At this point, activities will vary depending upon the situation.

For online learners, the student should make contact with another student in the class who is also an online learner as they will work cooperatively on the assigned task. They can use such media as, but not limited to, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Instagram, texting, email and telephone to communicate while completing the assignment.

For classroom learners, the students should pair up or form small groups within their cohort in order to address the task which will be assigned.

Subject Area(s) covered

Environmental studies, world issues

New Terms to explain

Ice shelf

Materials Needed

Access to the article and internet capability for research

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • Environmental changes that are occurring now are warning signs of the need to address climate change immediately.
  • Various environmental changes are sending signals and we must be aware of them.
  • Actions to address climate change are needed without delay.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

Students in their group (online and classroom) will answer the following questions and submit their answers in a comprehensive, single report for evaluation either in writing or, for online students, by a method determined by them and the teacher:

  • What is meant by the term “canary in the coal mine”?
  • How are the Canadian ice shelves our “canary in the coal mine”?
  • If the ice shelves are indeed our canary, describe its state of health and explain what specific actions would have to be taken in order to bring it back to full health.

Consolidation of Learning

If the assignment was broken up between group members, the members should conduct a brief review of their material with their group and answer any questions. If the assignment was done together, members should review the material together and determine to what degree each sees this as a very pressing problem which needs to be addressed.

Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • The students will appreciate how current significant environmental changes are indications of future life-altering problems if we do not take action to address climate change now
  • The students will be able to explain how the disintegration of the ice shelves is a harbinger of greater problems if climate change is not addressed immediately.

Confirming Activities

  • Consult the following website and discuss with your group member(s) how this reinforces the idea that we need to act now to address climate change.

10 Clear Indications Our Climate Is Changing –

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Explore what the various levels of government are doing to address climate change.
  • Research how Canada is viewed by the rest of the world regarding its efforts to address climate change.
  • Pick one activity that is being done to address climate change and determine the actual impact it is having.