Students watch a video about Glacier National Park (GNP) while taking notes on flora, fauna, and other natural features mentioned. They learn the physical systems of GNP. Students use a GNP image in creating a brochure of key features of GNP.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana Unit 2: Geography", which will introduce students to Montana’s unique geographical features and how they have changed over time.
3.6: Students will identify and distinguish between physical system changes (e.g., seasons, climate, weather, water cycle, natural disasters) and describe the social and economic effects of these changes.
- Video: Climate Connections: Glacier National Park
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of The Future of Glacier National Park handout
- Tell students they will be watching a short video about Glacier National Park in Montana. Explain that the video features scientists answering visitors’ questions about the effects that climate change will have on the glaciers.
- Provide students with The Future of Glacier National Park handout. Instruct students to take notes how climate change impacts the glaciers. Tell students to pay attention to the changes that have happened already and how they affect recreation, agriculture, fishing, and tourism.
- Play the video, Climate Connections: Glacier National Park. [5:43]
- Have students answer Question 4 from the video. Question 4 was asked by Tara, who lives in Bozeman, Montana: “How do receding glaciers and climate change affect the local economy in terms of recreation, agriculture, tourism?”
The impact of climate change on the glaciers at Glacier National Park (notes section):
Significant glacial melting
Very few glaciers left in the future
Some glacier ice remaining
Less snowpack over time (even though some years of high snow do add mass)
Water flow from ice and snow melt begins earlier in the late-winter/early-spring season
Melt lasts longer and more water comes down the mountains from the glaciers
The effects of glacier melt on the local economy:
Recreation: shorter recreational season for skiing and snowboarding
Agriculture: streams from glaciers come into the farmlands earlier, so farmers must change their planting and harvesting schedules to accommodate earlier and heavier irrigation
Fishing: stream temperatures will warm up, impacting fish
Tourism: might decrease unless visitors come to see other parts of the park’s landscape