Arctic & Earth SIGNs – Introduction to the Earth System Poster Activity

[music playing] Welcome to the Earth System Poster Series. So this is going to be a set of activities that I'll guide you through all based on this poster behind me. And you'll notice when you start working through these activities, they're pretty purposeful. And it's a confusing looking poster behind me, but it actually holds a tremendous amount of amazing data. This is one year. This is 2007, this particular poster. And what we'll have you do as you go through the activities is really take this poster apart. We're going to have you look at one image– you'll see it's a bunch of squares behind me. We'll have you look at one image, closely, for your first assignment. And then we'll have you take that image and compare it to images that are like it during different times of the year. We'll have you take that image and compare to the ones that are the same time of year, the same month and all the way across. And we're going to have you do the same thing pretty much in each assignment, which is look at a big picture– look for patterns, see what relationships exist there, come down to a small region within that poster and kind of become an expert on that little region.

And as you start to compare across different months or compare across different data types, you're going to start to see what relationships are. So each assignment– and there's five of them. Each assignment has a particular set of questions. And you can get these on our syllabus online. In my movies, I'm being a little bit more gentle about it. I won't exactly list the full questions that we want you to answer when you turn in your assignments. But those questions are written down for you on our syllabus. So you'll hear me refer to parts of them. And what I recommend you do is go ahead and open up the written version on our syllabus, take a look at it, and then hit Play on my movie. And that'll be a neat way to support what you're seeing written down. And in some cases, I might even have some fun ideas for how to display something or ways to talk about something, and you'll be able to use that video as a supplement.

So what we;d like you to do when you're looking at this is think on a multiple set of scales. Just like we have with our introduction to Arctic and Earth Science, we want you to carry that idea through here. It's think on a regional scale, what would people be feeling locally? What's the system there locally? And then, what you can see from a global sense. And this is something that I did in person. And it was an incredible class. And in fact, our principal investigator, the person in charge of our whole project here, Elena– who you guys have met on a prior video– she gave the course. And this was actually a large map that was on the wall. We had all of the squares cut out and laminated and we worked in groups. And it was really amazing for me to see areas that I know well, areas where I've been sailing or been doing trips, in the Arctic or the Antarctic, where you're on the ground, you're doing science for weeks at a time and watching the weather really closely. It's amazing to see what our satellites can capture and demonstrate.

So this is a good project for students who might be more interested and more oriented to being outdoors, maybe people who like weather and are used to thinking about it. But it's equally a good project for people who are more art minded. We're looking for patterns here. So allow those students who maybe aren't thinking in the terms of science or insulation or radiation, but just to look at this in the sense of, where does certain things exist? What colors are there? Where do they not? And then come down to your scale bars and see what those colors mean. And it's a really unique way to use students who are visually quite strong and then start to make them more quantitatively strong. And then comparisons between them start to get a dialog going where you can start to build vocabulary. So you don't have to be vocabulary intensive.

Sometimes, in the films you'll hear me using weather words or ones that are a little bit more unfamiliar. You don't have to start there. Really dig into what you see color-based, systems-based, and that's a great approach for it. All these assignments are going to be on our Google community site and so go ahead and use a variety of modes for handing in your answers from written form over to pictures, these sorts of things. And we'll look forward to seeing your results..