Using glacial images found at NASA Earth Observatory:

and "Windows to the Universe" activity students will observe actual glacial retreat.


Group Size: Any

Learning Objectives:

Students will understand how alpine glaciers have changed rapidly over the past century. Students will understand possible reasons for glacier retreat over long and short periods of time. Students will learn about possible impacts of global glacier retreat.

Guiding Question:

How have glaciers changed over time?


Glacial Lesson pictures at:



Print enough copies of Glaciers Then and Now Image Pairs (pdf) to have one for each student group. Cut each sheet of paper in half to separate the glacier photos. Optional: Laminate all photos to make the sets more durable for repeated use. Note: Do not share the first page with students until they have matched the pairs of photographs. Introduction Explain what glaciers are, how glaciers grow and retreat, and the two types of glaciers: continental and valley (or alpine) glaciers. Discuss the climate conditions that are necessary for a glacier to grow (snowy winters and cool summers). Discuss the climate conditions that are necessary for a glacier to shrink (warmer).


Listen for classroom discussion and questions related to glacial retreat and its effects.

Review student individual data tables.

Answer Key or Rubric:

Students will collect data on data table. Each will be different, therefore there is no "key."

Benchmark or Standards:

E1.1D Identify patterns in data and relate them to theoretical models.


Attached Files:



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