Climate Change and the mega-glaciers



Before we start:

A Webquest is a discovery tour, where the learner is his/her own guide! You decide where you will go to find results. Often, more than one answer is OK!

Figure 1: Greenland people say the change of the climate has a growing impact on our (daily) lives. The speed of changes increases, as many scientists confirm.

Countries try to agree on the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to reduce global warming. The melting of giant glaciers, heavy rainfalls and floods, as well as giant wildfires all over the world is seen by many as proof of global warming. Glaciers exist high in the mountains and much more in the Northern parts of the world, especially in Antarctica (the South Pole).

This is a much larger area, yet still covered with ice, where effects of the warming atmosphere become visible. Other areas, like the Northern parts of Canada and Siberia, are not covered by ice, but the ground is permanently frozen. That’s why they are called permafrost. These grounds are melting:, releasing methane. Methane, like CO2, is a greenhouse gas that causes global warming, it does that 20 times more(!) than carbon dioxide.

Figure 1: Greenland

Melting glaciers, large CO2 emissions and releases of methane influence our climate. The effect is enhanced by the disappearance of rainforests. The less rainforests, the less CO2 absorption!



In this WebQuest you will investigate global warming; for the purpose of your limited research, you will focus on Greenland. We want you to understand the problem, at least a little bit. We also want you to start developing your opinion on the issue of climate change. But maybe you have one already. Let’s see if your opinion will be the same after this Webquest. Have a nice discovery tour! You can do this on your, but working in a group and discussing the outcomes, before deciding, is the preferred way to head on in this Webquest. 


Greenland, the Freezer of the Northern Atlantic’s.

We want you to estimate and assess the importance of global warming. You should take the point of view of a person living in Greenland.

Figure 2 Terminus of Kangerlugssuup Sermerssua glacier in W. Greenland. Photo: D. Felikson / Univ. of Texas
Source article:


Understanding the size of Greenland (and its glaciers).

Your initial task is to set the stage for your research and look up information about Greenland:

  1. Where is this land situated? How big is it? Name some neighbouring countries. You can use the map in Figure 1 for orientation and search for additional information.

  2. How many people live in Greenland? Do you know a famous Greenlander?

  3. Who lives in Greenland (name of the people)? To which general group or race do they belong? What is their language?

  1. What is the traditional food in Greenland? What means of transport are available?

  2. Does Greenland have natural resources (metals, oil, gas, etcetera)?

  3. What is the GDP of Greenland (Gross Domestic Product, or BNP in Dutch)?

  1. Is Greenland an independent state? How is it governed (who’s the boss)?

  2. The country was prominently in the news a few years ago. Do you know why?

  3. Put words on the dots: Greenland is the largest [1] of the world. Greenland is one of the least densely [2] lands in the world.


[1]     Island

[2]     populated


Summarize your answers in a short introduction about Greenland. Imagine you are writing a story for a magazine or a folder to inform tourists who don’t know much about Greenland.

By the way, did you know anything about Greenland before starting this Webquest?

In the following assignments, you will find out about climate change. The questions will help you understand the meaning of climate change and some related terms.

  1. Find information about the glaciers on Greenland: how much ice is there and what would happen (worldwide) if it all melts?

Figure 3: A sled travelling on a layer of water in Greenland. Photo: Steffen M. Olsen, Blue Action


  1. Look at the picture above: the huskies are in the water, but they are not swimming. Can huskies walk on water? Is it a trick photograph? What is going on there? The photo was published on Euronews as part of an article about Greenland:
  2. Where is much more ice than in Greenland and what is happening there?
  3. Is Greenland the coldest place on the earth?
  1. Who is sounding the alarm over the melting ice and global warming? Give some important names of the movement (the climate activists). Who or what is to blame for global warming, according to the activists?
  2. What is a “greenhouse gas” and why do we use this name? Name as many greenhouse gasses as you know or can find. Give a short description of how they work. To do this, you need information on the effects these gasses have on the environment (nature, mankind). Which greenhouse gas do you see in the national news these days (name your sources)? Where does it come from?

Figure 4: Melting Permafrost is the source of a powerful greenhouse gas.


  1. What kind of greenhouse gas is released by the melting Permafrost? Put the sources of greenhouse gasses in order of the damage they can cause.
  2. Do you know one of the most famous persons in the world-leading actions to reduce climate change? Do you know others in your own country? If not, look them up. What is the explanation they give for the worldwide warming we are experiencing?
  3. Are the glaciers really melting, or is it a hoax? Look for evidence (pictures, scientific articles, news sites), both in favour of and against the statement that glaciers are melting. Name your sources of information!
  1. Do you think climate change (global warming) is a real problem?
    1. If yes, can we do something about it? Who should take the lead?
    2. If not, why are people protesting, striking etcetera?
  2. There’s a school strike against climate change going on in many countries. Tell in your own words what is happening and add pictures. Who started the action? Do you think students and pupils around the world should join the protests? Do you think it is OK to skip lessons for this kind of action?
  3. If climate change is not a problem, how will the melting of ice be taken care of? For instance: how can lowlands or lands below the sea level be protected from rising seawater, like the huge river deltas of Bangladesh, the Nile in Egypt, the Amazon, or the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta in the Netherlands? Can the melting be reversed in some way?


Figure 5 Melted Permafrost won’t freeze in Winter Photo by K. Orlinsky, NatGeo




All the sources for your answers can be internet-based: websites, social media, Wikipedia and any other online place where relevant information is stored. However, you may also use paper-based information: newspapers, books and documents in the local or school library or wherever you find them.

Make sure you check your sources: especially news media may publish “coloured” information just to please the owners and the advertisers. The same applies to other media, like Chinese state media and the Pravda in Russia: some are biased over economic and political issues: they represent the opinions of the national leaders rather than objective facts.

Whatever your source of information is, mention it. You don’t need to be objective, although that would be highly appreciated. Everything you say is OK, if your line of reasoning and the evidence you use, is transparent. Other people should be able to check your findings. That is the basic rule in science: data and reasoning must be transparent.


This is also where science and journalism go separate ways …


What did you learn about Greenland? Would you like to go there?

What did you learn about global warming? Did that change your ideas about Climate Change and the importance of that issue? Did it perhaps change you?

After working on these tasks: what is the knowledge or the opinions you will take along with you? What do you think about climate action? Do you share the worries about Climate Change?

Rating your results



not bad



Pre-assignment: the size of Greenland

Answers to questions

max .. points

It seemed as if you hardly worked on the questions

You provided only a few background data with minimal comments to show the size of the country. If people didn’t know about Greenland, they wouldn’t be wiser with your answers and short presentation.

You worked a little bit on gathering information, but you clearly have not learned much about Greenland, even though there’s so much information on the internet.

It’s a start, but you can improve, by striving for more completeness in your answers and presentation.

You worked pretty hard on gathering information and you clearly know a lot about Greenland, its importance for the climate. You used the internet well. This was a very good start, but you can improve the completeness of the information you give and the short presentation.

Your work is a fine example of gathering and presenting information and you clearly know how to use various media, like the internet, as a source of information.

This is close to perfection: it is hard to see how you could improve presentation of Greenland.

Assignment 1 & 2: assessing the problem & who cares?

Answers to questions

max .. points

It seemed as if you did little efforts: you gave hardly any data on the consequences when the ice in Greenland and the South Pole melts.

Also, you could not tell us much about Siberia, climate activists and the opponents, although it’s all in the daily news and on the internet.

You did some good efforts: you were able to give at least some basic data on the consequences when the ice in Greenland and the South Pole melts. You were able to find some information about Siberia, climate activists and the opponents. It’s a start, but you can improve.

You worked pretty hard on gathering information and you were able to explain how much the sea level will rise when Greenland and the South Pole melts.

You also wrote well about Siberia, climate activists and the opponents: a very good start.

Your work is a fine example of presenting the complex data that you got from your various sources.

You explained the complex   interaction between melting glaciers, greenhouse gasses, disappearing rainforests. This is close to perfection and completeness!

Assignment 3: do you care?

Answers to questions & argumentation on objectivity,

max .. points

Argumentation concerning climate change was not coherent, you hardly know the names of action leaders and opponents. It is doubtful that you are aware of major developments in the world and our society.

Argumentation concerning climate change shows little coherence, you reproduced some statements, but at least you were able to find them.

It’s a start, open for further improvement.

Argumentation concerning climate change showed that you found good information that you presented well. You showed good understanding of the causes of climate change. It’s a good start, but improvement is still possible.

Argumentation concerning climate change was coherent and complete. You found highly relevant data and statements.

You presented clearly what climate change is about.

It’s close to perfection.

Your leaner report:


argumentation of your personal achievements


max .. points

Argumentation concerning your personal results and achievements was mostly missing, consisting of unrelated statements. There is reasonable doubt that you learned much.

Argumentation concerning your personal results and achievements lacks coherence. At least you were able to name a few.

It’s a start, ready for improvement.

Argumentation concerning your personal results and achievements showed good coherence. You named a number of things that you learned.

It’s a good start!

Argumentation concerning your personal results and achievements was complete. You were able to point out clearly what you learned, about the subject and about yourself! That’s what we wanted to see happening.

Teacher instruction

This Webquest is suitable for classroom work of small groups or for working in distant, online educational environments, where students work individually or again in groups. In the latter case they will have to use modern communication facilities like web-conferencing (Skype, Zoom) in order to cooperate effectively. In the case of distant, online training, the evaluation procedure needs extra attention and care. No doubt it will require online communication between teacher and pupil(s) to clarify certain issues.

The introduction is quite long because this text is the only information online students will have when starting their Webquest. In the classroom the teacher can introduce the subject of Climate change in any way he/she likes, while the tasks for the students will remain the same.

Not all the questions and tasks will lead to straight and absolute true answers. In some cases, pupils will find different information, according to the sources they used. Comparison of the answers given by pupils in the classroom or online (using web-conferencing) is an important part of the evaluation of this Webquest.

It is good for pupils to be aware of the discussion about climate change, whether it is a real danger or not. For some, this Webquest may be the start of developing their own opinion.

Some of the footnotes are meant to help the learners to find answers, but a few are giving away the results of the search that learners will have to do. Be sure to take those footnotes out before giving this Webquest to your learners.

Evaluation of learning achievements

In this section we will not dive very deep into the underlying educational theories about evaluation and testing: there’s too much out there than we could possibly cover in this small project report.

Instead, we want to concentrate on procedures that enable both students/pupils and their teachers to establish if the learning goals of the Webquest were achieved and, if so, to what extent. We recommend teachers make use of a combined evaluation procedure, that consists of:

  1. Statements by learners (after being asked to do so)
    • telling what they learned about the subject (knowledge-oriented self-evaluation): now (after going through the Webquest) I know that …
    • telling what he/she learned about herself/himself (formative evaluation, in this case, diagnostic self-evaluation): now (after going through the Webquest) I know about myself that I …
      This pair of basic statements add up to a so-called learner report, in which the pupil/student reflects on what the Webquest brought him/her in terms of acquired knowledge and new personal views and attitudes concerning the subject.

    For instance:

    • ‘I learned that in medieval times the hygiene of people was hardly a concern which helped to let epidemic diseases like the Plague cause so many casualties’ Or:
    • ‘I learned the facts and I know the earth is warming, but I cannot understand why people were so stupid to pollute the world and let it warm up so much.
    • ‘I learned from the information about diseases that this subject is more appealing to me than I would expect in advance: maybe I should consider a medical career’. Or:
      ‘The Webquests confirms what I thought already: I could not care less about the climate and global warming. In fact, I thought it was all a hoax and I still do!’

    This kind of assessment seems more subjective than it actually is: in his standard work on testing and evaluation (and much more), simply called Methodology (1974), Prof. A.D. de Groot described how consistent the student’s self-evaluations appeared to be: when asked again after 5 or 10 years, their evaluation would almost be the same. De Groot advised teachers to use the learner report as a start for joint evaluations, striving for consensus between teacher and student/pupil about the learning outcomes and their value for the learner, but also compared with the learning objectives as stated in the curriculum.

  2. The learning achievements are visible in the output produced by the students: it is physical evidence: reports, answers to questions asked in the Webquest, presentations, and performance during presentations (preferably recorded). The teacher completes an evaluation grid stating clearly what the learning outcomes for the student/pupil are. The categories in the grid can be modified by the teacher to cover more precisely the content of a Webquest.

    We advise teachers to use the grid to start a joint evaluation discussion, aiming at consensus or at least understanding between the teacher and the student/pupil about the learning outcomes: were they achieved (as planned in the curriculum and communicated before the Webquest started) and to what extent? To communicate the learning goals clearly before any learning activity starts, is a transparency requirement that is widely acknowledged in the educational community. The history of making learning objectives explicit goes back to the evaluation ‘Bible’ by Bloom, Hastings and Madaus: ‘Handbook on formative and summative evaluation of student learning’ (1971), a standard work that also served as inspiration for the earlier mentioned Prof. De Groot.


The procedure also applies when students/pupils have worked together on a Webquest. The teacher will ask questions about individual contributions: ‘What did you find? What part did you write? How did you find the illustrations? Who made  the final presentation?’

All the evidence (of learning efforts and outcomes plus joint evaluations) is preferably stored in the learning portfolio of the student, or in any other suitable storage system (folders with written or printed documents, online collection of files, etcetera ).

Changes in personal points of view and feelings are harder to value and here the consensus between teacher and student/pupil about experiences during the learning process provides essential insights.

The grid below gives an example of how the evaluation of the learning process and achievements can be shaped: what kind of reactions to the Webquest does the teacher expect and how valuable are they? Is the teacher capable to explain the value or score allocated to answers or presentations given by pupils? Does the pupil/student understand the evaluation outcomes, and does he/she agree? If an agreement (consensus is not possible, it is still the teacher who decides how to value the student’s work.

Please note that the text in the grid addresses the pupil/student directly: this is important and it is in fact a prerequisite for using such an evaluation grid: it is specifically meant to enable a discussion of learning results between teacher and student and not to communicate learning achievements of learners to others who had no direct role in the Webquest.

Evaluation Grid

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Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
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Funded by
sCOOL-IT erasmus logo EN

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90

Funded by
sCOOL-IT erasmus logo EN

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Talk To Us

t: +357 2466 40 40
f: +357 2465 00 90

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