Ice, Ice Baby...

The Ice Age

The Ice Age is a period in Earth's history when ice sheets cover vast regions on land.  Ice ages alternate with interglacial periods, when the ice sheets mostly disappear.  An ice age generally lasts about 100,000 years; an interglacial period, from 10,000 to 20,000 years.  The most recent ice age ended about 11,500 years ago. Prior to the melting of the glaciers of the most recent Ice Age, North America was a very different place.  Humans are thought to have crossed a land bridge from the east and migrated to the present day United States for the first time!  "Mega-Fauna", animals of huge size such as the Woolly Mammoths, Mastodons, Saber tooth cats and many others once ruled North America. As the glaciers receded, these animals disappeared from the lands.  The melting glaciers exposed the newly sculpted lands below, and deposited a variety of materials upon the land. The Ice Age had a much more significant  effect upon modern Maine  than you would think. Most scientists expect that another ice age will follow the interglacial period in which we now live.

The Task

You are a scientist who is assigned by the Commissioner of Education to prepare a presentation to school children on the subject of the Ice Age, and specifically, it's effects on modern-day Maine.  Working with your fellow committee members you  will choose Project Strand I or Project Strand II which will serve as your guidelines.  You and your committee will prepare and carry out research about the Ice Age and it's effects on Maine.  You will prepare a presentation  which summarizes your findings. 

Note for 2014 Participants:  Since your committees are large, a GROUP LEADER will be appointed to help coordinate all the work that needs to be done.  Using Google Presentation this leader should create a presentation and share it with group members.  Unless you're luckier than I am, you won't be able to edit your presentation on the Ipad.  You can VIEW it on the Ipad, just not change anything.  If you FIND a way to do this, by all means, share your genius with me.  Otherwise, we'll be in the COMPUTER LAB all week as you gather information and prepare your presentation.  

Each member should be involved.  Working individually and in smaller subgroups is allowed.  Each Team should decide how best to divide up the work and complete the project. 

Your presentation should be between 15 and 20 minutes long.

Due date is 4/14/14.     Classroom presentations and Final Grading  to take place on 4/17/14.

 

Strand I Project:

Ice Age Plants and Animals (Listing and Description)

Ice Age Humans ( What were they like? )

Effects of the Ice Age on Maine's Landscape:  (Sculpting of the Land, Glacial Landforms, Soil Formation, Ocean Changes)

Effects of the Ice Age on Maine's Economy:  Your committee will profile a business in Maine that is able to do business because the Ice Age occurred. 

 

Strand II Project:

Causes of Ice Ages on Earth: (Current Theories)

Ice Age Mega Fauna Extinction Theories:(What happened to these magnificent animals??)

Effects of the Ice Age on Maine's Landscape:  (Sculpting of the Land, Glacial Landforms, Soil Formation, Ocean Changes)

Effects of the Ice Age on Maine's Economy:  Your committee will profile a business in Maine that is able to do business because the Ice Age occurred. 

The Process

  Choose STRAND I or STRAND II

STRAND I

Plants and Animals of the Ice Age: (Strand I)  You and your committee will do research into what types of plants and animals existed during and after our most recent ice age.  You will prepare a summary listing of representative animals and plants, as well as a brief description of these organisms.  

Ice Age Humans: (Strand I)  You and your committee will conduct basic research into the presence of human beings who inhabited Earth during the most recent ice age.  You will seek to answer the simple question: "What were humans like back then?".  

Effects on Maine: (Strand I, II) Your committee will describe how the land was shaped during our most recent ice age, common glacial landforms found in Maine, as well as how and where soils were deposited by the glaciers which once covered the land.  

Effects on Maine's Economy: (Strand I, II)  Your committee will prepare a profile of a business in Maine which is able to do business because an ice age occurred. You may choose any business which interests you, as long as it is able to do business because of the ice age.

STRAND II

Causes of the Ice Age: (Strand II)  You and your committee will conduct research into the suspected causes of ice ages on Earth.  While the ultimate cause of ice ages remains unknown, a number of current scientific theories seek to explain why these events occur.  

Ice Age Mega Fauna Extinction Theories: (Strand II)  There are two major theories out there about what happened to the animals of North America after our most recent ice age.  Your committee will prepare a report outlining both theories, and recommend which theory your group feels is the most likely explanation of this extinction event. 

Effects on Maine: (Strand I, II) Your committee will describe how the land was shaped during our most recent ice age, common glacial landforms found in Maine, as well as how and where soils were deposited by the glaciers which once covered the land. 

Effects on Maine's Economy: (Strand I, II)  Your committee will prepare a profile of a business in Maine which is able to do business because an ice age occurred. You may choose any business which interests you, as long as it is able to do business because of the ice age.

 

 

Resources

To learn about the environment and animals of the ice age, follow the link.

Find out about the Overkill Theory of ice age extinctions by following this link.

A Brief History of Maine, 

Maine's Changing Sea Levels during  Ice Age Era

For information about the Geologic Time Scale, click the link.

Nova Online/ Cracking the Ice Age/The Big Chill

Geologic History Time line

One resource about Maine's History of Sea-Level Changes

You may utilize the internet Search Engine of your choice to get more information. Remember to be very specific with your search requests.  (For  example:  Ice Age AND Maine, or Ice Age AND Maine AND Economy, etc. Try the term "Pleistocene" rather than Ice Age to get fewer references to the movie!~~be creative and you'll get unexpected results). 

The LJHS Library Media Center stands ready to assist you in your research activities.

 

EVALUATION

Your grade for this project will be assigned in a number of ways in Science class.  You will be graded based upon your work as a group in all areas.  You will receive individual grades based on assignments which you personally will complete.   You will receive grading rubrics in class for each activity.  Use these rubrics to grade yourselves, check on completeness of your project and to help you organize the work that needs to be done.

 

Conclusion

Congratulations!  You've completed a very detailed project which is intended to extend your knowledge of some of the processes which drive this living machine on which we live, the Earth.  As you have discovered, events like ice ages have a lasting impact upon the planet.  Our everyday lives, in some part, are affected by events like the ice age.  You've carried out important research activities, prepared and presented your findings to others in a variety of ways.  You've worked individually and as a group to solve problems, and complete the task.