As a high school or undergraduate Earth Science or Geography teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools when teaching glaciers, cryosphere, and related topics such as impact of temperature and precipitation on glacial mass, equilibrium line, accumulation, ablation, glacial budget, glacier length, glacial advance, and glacial retreat. The activity will also enable students to understand the possible impacts of climate change on glaciers.

Thus, the use of this toolkit allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Earth Science or Geography.

Teaching Toolkit Metadata
Discipline Geography and Earth Sciences
Grade Level High school, Undergraduate
Related Core Curriculum Topics Glaciers, Cryosphere
Region Global (region-specific activities also provided)
Availability Online
Languages English (the interactive visualization tool from PhET is available in several languages)
IT competency required Basic


Resources in the Toolkit

This toolkit includes a reading, an interactive visualization tool and associated activity (for high school level) OR a computer-based activity (for undergraduate level), and additional resources.


Contents of Toolkit
1. Reading An introduction to the possible impacts of climate change on glaciers.

Glaciers and Climate Change, from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC):

2. An interactive visualization tool and
associated activity (for high school level)
 An interactive computer-based visualization tool to visualize the shrinking and growing of a glacier as a
result of changes in snowfall and temperature.
An interactive tool, “Glaciers,” from the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Questions/assignments are available in the “For Teachers” section at A sample exercise for students is at: 


2. A computer-based activity (for undergraduate level)

 An activity based on Google Earth imagery and historic data analysis to predict the complete melting of a glacier.“When will there no longer be glaciers in Glacier National Park?” from SERC Carleton, developed by Carol Ormand, Wittenberg University

3. Additional resources Reading

Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

Mobile App

WGMS Glacier App from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and the University of Zurich, available for free download from Apple App Store and Google Play Store:


 1. Reading The National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC)
 2. Interactive Visualization Tool and Associated Activity (high school)

Computer-based Activity (undergraduate)

The PhET Interactive Simulations Project at the University of Colorado Boulder

From SERC Carleton, developed by Carol Ormand, Wittenberg University

 3. Additional Resources  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Glacier Monitoring Service(WGMS) and the University of Zurich
 4. Images National Geographic Society

The National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC)

US Climate Resilience Toolkit

All the pedagogical tools and images in our collated list are owned by the corresponding creators/authors/organizations as listed on their websites. Please view the individual copyright and ownership details for each tool by following the individual links provided.
We have selected and analyzed the tools that align with the overall objective of our project and have provided the corresponding links. We do not claim ownership of or responsibility/liability for any of the listed tools and images.