In the wee hours of the morning of Thursday morning, I went into Safeway to buy a block of ice that measured 10.5 inches long, five inches wide, and five inches tall. That block of ice equates to 262.5 cubic inches of water. Each student estimated how long it would take to melt. When it was all said and done, Liam was the closest with an estimate of 20 hours and 30 minutes. (For the record, the range of estimates was between 30 minutes and 140 hours. It ended up taking 29 hours, five minutes, 47 seconds. I ended up taking the ice home with a tray I borrowed from the school’s kitchen because it took until Saturday afternoon to finish melting at room temperature.
Now this doesn’t exactly mean that when melted the water would perfectly fill a 10.5x5x5 container because water expands when it freezes. What it does mean though is that when it melts, there’s going to be some water. The question posed was, “What do we do with all this water?” Luckily for us, we could just throw it outside our classroom door, pour it down the drain, use it for a shower if we were camping, or water some plants with it. We don’t really have to worry about where it will go. However, what would we do with all the water that melted from a block of ice that measures roughly 11,653 square miles big? That’s how big the Rink Glacier in Greenland measures. And it’s melting.
In our studies of glaciers this week, we used National Geographic’s education website to research glaciers and write a brief report on what a glacier is, how it’s formed, how they’re in danger, and described various characteristics of glacier. We also watched several clips of glaciers calving into the ocean. There were many pleas of, “PLAY IT AGAIN!” We are going to revise our reports on glaciers and publish them next week. This week, we’re going to study the different parts of a glacier. Throughout our work on glaciers, the discussion of how fast they’re melting has come up.
I went home and watched the documentary Chasing Ice Friday night. I was blown away. We read about retreating glaciers and climate change but it’s completely different when you see it. The documentary is about renowned photographer Peter Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey (E.I.S.). Using time-lapse photography, he recorded the retreat of roughly two dozen glaciers around the world and used the photographs to produce visual evidence of their stunning and dismal predicament. It’s currently available on Netflix streaming. I highly recommend you watch it. It’ll be a good use of 76 minutes. (Disclaimer- It was rated PG-13, which surprised me because it only had three swears.)
Believe it or not folks, this is the last week of the first trimester. After Thursday, 1/3 of our school year is in the books!
~ Mr. Barnard