• Sunset view of Glacier Bay and the surrounding Fairweather Mountains.

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Marine Environment Activity #3: Changing The Scene

1. The Natural History of Glacier Bay
Divide the resources below among eight student groups to read.

Provide each group with a copy of the brochure map of Glacier Bay and the Marine Environment Glossary. Map of Glacier Bay National Park (Shows glacial retreat timeline) http://www.nps.gov/applications/parks/glba/ppMaps/ACF30C1.pdf

Distribute the Student Worksheet: Glacier Bay Over Time. This worksheet provides a note-taking guide for students as they read their assigned resource. The information they gather on this guide will be used in Step 2 of the activity.


2. An Annotated map of Glacier Bay
Once the groups have completed their reading, hold a class discussion on what they have learned. Use the Student Worksheet to guide your questioning. How has Glacier Bay changed over time? What is it like today? What might it have been like when the glacier covered the entire region?

Briefly discuss the changes Glacier Bay has seen over time. At what point in its history do students think they would most like to visit the bay? Explain.

Invite students to choose one aspect of the history of the bay and illustrate it. They should write captions to explain their illustrations. Share these in a class display or short presentation.


3. Climate Change
Now, share the following interactive resources with students. If appropriate, use a classroom computer to guide students through each site.Discuss the information in the sites, focusing on what scientists believe are the underlying causes of climate change today. How have humans contributed to this change? What effects will global warming have on Glacier Bay? Explain. What could they do right now that would slow down the effect of climate change? Explain.

4. The Future of Glacier Bay
In a class discussion invite volunteers to share predictions they have for Glacier Bay's future.

They should discuss consequences for both the natural and human aspects of the area. What will happen to the glaciers? How will climate change? How might the changing climate affect the animals and plants that live in the area? What about the humans?

Following the discussion, divide students again into groups and divide the following topics among them to research on the Web. Each group should find and prepare 2-3 examples of their topic that could be put into a time capsule for Glacier Bay.

  • Artifacts
  • News articles
  • Photographs
  • Scientific papers
  • Personal anecdotes
  • Artwork
  • Music or natural sounds

Each group should write a 1-2 page paper describing Glacier Bay as they think it would be in 50 years. Share the artifacts in class and discuss class predictions.


>>National Education Standards
The Marine Environment

Did You Know?

Western Hemlock

Downed logs in advanced stages of decay provide the ideal habitat for Western Hemlock seedlings to take root.