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Identifying cause and effect relationships can help us make predictions about the function of natural systems and their impact on the world. These relationships, whether simple or complex, are vital for forecasting weather and predicting Earth events in new contexts.

The advance-and-retreat cycle of snow cover drastically changes the whiteness and brightness of Earth. Using these two 2017 maps created using NASA satellite data, have students review the seasonal differences of snow and ice extent.

The Earth's system exemplifies stability and change. Change and rates of change can be observed and quantified over very short or long periods of time and at various spatial scales (e.g., from landscape level to global processes).

Explore the spatial patterns observed in meteorological data and learn how this information is used to predict weather and understand climate behavior. By observing patterns in data we can classify our observations and investigate underlying cause and effect relationships.

An important scientific practice is the asking and refining of questions that lead to rich descriptions, explanations, and reasoning of how the natural and designed world works, as well as those investigations of variables that can be empirically tested.

Global map of average Sea Surface Temperature, 2009

SST, 2009

K-2: Asking questions and defining problems in grades K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions that can be tested.

What is the phenomenon of melting sea and land ice?

Ice is found all around our planet, from the highest peak in Africa to the icy North and South Poles.

Why Does NASA Study Ice?

The amount of ice on our planet affects how much energy is absorbed by the Earth's system and also impacts global sea level. These are just some of the reasons why scientists study ice.

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