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Lake Champlain Ice

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Exploring Changes in the Ice Cover on Lake Champlain

Eileen Stachowski, Robert Cully, Susan Powers,
Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

July 2011


Type:  Project Module

Length:  3 to 4 – 45 minute class periods

Content Area/Course: Earth science, Environmental science

Targeted Grade Level:  9-12

Prerequisite Knowledge: General concepts and appreciation that the climate has been and will continue to change, Basic knowledge of IPCC emission scenarios and their relation to predictions of future climate change

Prerequisite Skills: Basic MS Excel experience – manipulating data, creating graphs, linear regression (Note – instructions for linear regression can be omitted for younger students)

Technology/web resources: Microsoft Excel, internet access to data

Thinking skill development: Comprehension, Evaluation

NASA Resources Used:  Satellite images of Lake Champlain region from MODIS satellite, GISS Surface Temperature Analysis web tool.


This activity uses data from NASA and NOAA to help students understand changes in temperature and ice coverage in the Lake Champlain region.  The use of historical data enables an exploration of the changes and trends that have already occurred and the use of models to predict future climate change can be used to contemplate predictive models’ results and credibility.