Lesson Plan – Arctic Animals

muskox.jpgArctic Animals – Lesson Plans

Central questions:

  1. How does global warming affect plant and animal communities?
  2. How does global warming affect human communities?


  • Students will be able to explain how changing weather patterns, a changing balance of competitors and changes in the availability of food and shelter can increase uncertainty for communities of living things.
  • Students will be able to give examples of these uncertainties and disruptions from the Arctic communities.
  • Students will predict how continued warming may affect communities of living things with which they are familiar and will post their ideas on the Global Warming 101 forum.

Time needed: Forty minutes or more

Grade Level: Middle School and High School


Explain that you will divide students into as many as five groups, depending on the number of students in the class. If there are not enough students to make five groups of at least two or three students, make fewer groups. Give each group one set of the passages about impacts of global warming on communities of living things (use scrap paper to print these if possible). If you have fewer than five groups, consider giving more than one set of passages to a group.

Students should take turns reading aloud sections of their passage to the rest of their group.

Each group will discuss the impacts described in their passages and then plan a skit to illustrate these impacts. Skits should be a maximum of three minutes long. Groups will have very little time to plan their skits, so let them know in advance that skits do not need to be “polished.” They should be impromptu, quickly moving and fun.

The entire class should then reconvene and groups should take turns presenting their skit. After each group’s skit, one member of the group should explain to the entire class the impact they were illustrating, including Arctic-specific examples from the passage. To allow for transition time between groups and to allow time for each group to explain the concepts in their skit, plan for five minutes for each group.


  1. Divide students into groups and give each group one set (or more) of passages. (5 minutes)
  2. Students take turns reading aloud from the passages. (5 minutes)
  3. Each group discusses the impacts described and plans a three-minute skit to illustrate these impacts. (5 minutes)
  4. Each group presents their skit for the rest of the class and explains the impact they were portraying. (25 minutes)


Homework Assignment: Each student thinks of a way in which continued global warming could affect a community of living things with which he or she is familiar. Each student then posts his or her ideas on the globalwarming101.com forum under the discussion topic “Lesson Three: Communities of Living Things.” Students may also read the postings from other students and see how their ideas compare.

Notes to teachers:

  • As the students are reading the passages to each other and planning and practicing their skits, circulate between the groups and listen at each group for a few moments to gauge the progress of the groups and to make certain that students are focusing their efforts on the task.
  • Before dividing the students into groups, explain the entire activity to them and let them know how much time they will have for each section of the activity.
  • Clearly set the expectation that skits should respect other members of the class and respect the living beings portrayed in the skits. Let students know that no inappropriate language, harassing or discriminatory content or explicitly sexual or violent portrayals will be tolerated.
  • Monitor the time closely to ensure that all groups have time to present their skit. Give groups a “two minute warning” and a “one minute warning.” Groups will have very little time to plan their skits, so let them know in advance that skits do not need to be “polished.” They should be impromptu, quickly moving and fun.


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