Earth Action Stories: Ice Skates and Rainforests?
Akiem and his friend,
Maria, were in the attic of Akiem's house. They were looking through an old trunk. Their school was putting on a play for social studies class, and Akiem and Maria hoped to find some old clothes they could use for the play.
At the bottom of the trunk were many shoes. Nestled among them were two pairs of ice skates.
"What are these doing here?" Akiem said. "We always have to rent skates when we go to the rink."
Akiem put the skates back and finished picking out clothes they thought they could use.
Akiem's grandmother was in the kitchen helping his mother with supper. It was his grandmother's trunk they had been searching.
"Why do you have ice skates?" Maria asked. Akiem's grandmother had forgotten about the skates, but she quickly smiled.
"When I was growing up in the 1950s, my brother and I would skate every night on Frey's pond after all our homework was done. We had such fun!" grandmother recalled.
"Back then," she continued, "the winters seemed colder. There were many snowstorms. The ponds would freeze often. All of us had our own skates. We would skate for an hour after school before dark and two or three hours on Saturdays."
Akiem nibbled on a cookie at the kitchen table and grinned. It was funny to think of grandmother skating. Now Akiem understood why she loved to watch figure skating on television.
"It must not be as cold now," Akiem said. "Even the small pond on the golf course never freezes."
"I've got an idea," Maria said. "Let's ask Mr. Ryan about it tomorrow." Mr. Ryan was Akiem and Maria's science teacher.
It was raining the next day, so recess was indoors. Maria and Akiem walked over to Mr. Ryan, who was sitting on the bleachers in the gymnasium.
"Were winters colder back in the 1950s," Maria blurted out.
"That's a great question, Maria," a surprised Mr. Ryan said. "Why do you ask?"
Akiem told Mr. Ryan about grandmother's story.
Mr. Ryan reminded them that they had just completed a unit about Earth's rainforests and the many plants and animals that live there.
"Do you remember what was happening to the trees in the rainforests?" Mr. Ryan asked. "The answer will lead into our next lesson, when we talk about the warming of Earth's air."
On the way back from recess, Akiem asked Maria, "What does Earth's air getting warmer have to do with trees in the rainforests?" Maria shrugged and laughed.
"Imagine that. Ice skates and rainforests!"
Weather, Seasons, and Climate Earth Action Problem 1: Where'd the Snow Go? (3-4)
Sports-A-Plenty is a new store. It sells its sporting goods over the Internet. The owners expected to sell lots of winter sports items. To their surprise, people in parts of the United States that should have had a very cold and snowy winter bought few sleds and ice skates. The owners are worried. Are winters getting warmer? Will the warming continue? The owners need to know what winter should be like in the future so they can decide how much winter sports equipment to stock.
Weather, Seasons, and Climate Earth Action Problem 2: The Disappearing Ice Shelf (3-4)
In recent decades scientists have grown concerned over large chunks of the Antarctic ice shelf breaking off. One piece was as big as Rhode Island! The scientists want to know why this is happening and if they should expect it to continue.
Weather, Seasons, and Climate Earth Action Problem 3: The Scout Trip (K-2)
Your scout troop is going on a weekend camping trip. Everything you want to take with you must fit in your backpack. What should you pack? Keep in mind the season, possible weather changes, and the differences between nighttime and daytime temperatures.
Weather, Seasons, and Climate Earth Action Problem 4: Seasonal Menu (K-4)
Your father and mother own a restaurant. They pride themselves on offering only fresh, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Design five meals for the menu for one season. Where will the food items come from? Remember, they must be fresh, not frozen.
Earth action story written by Regina Wolterman. Artwork by Anne Foreman.