Workforce Skills

21st Century Skills

The Arctic Climate Modeling Program addresses 21st century student outcomes throughout the curriculum. A framework for 21st century learning developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills classifies student outcomes into four categories: core subjects and 21st century themes; learning and innovation skills; information, media, and technology skills; and life and career skills (see Figure 1).


Learning and Innovation Prepare Students for Complex Life and Work Environments

Thinking creatively, working creatively with others, communicating clearly, and collaboration is encouraged through student work and presentations, group work, classroom discussion, and brainstorming. Students are asked to reason effectively, use systems thinking, make judgments and decisions, and solve problems throughout the curriculum.

For example, in the lesson “Decision Making,” students work cooperatively to use weather forecasting information to make decisions and plan activities. In the lesson “A Coastal Arctic Food Web,” students construct a model of a coastal Arctic food web to make predictions about how loss of sea ice will affect the Arctic ecosystem. Students innovate and problem solve by building, testing, and improving their designs of a simple solar box cooker in the lesson “Solar Box Cooker.”


Students Use Information, Media, and Technology to Collaborate and Think Critically

Information, Media, and Technology Skills are addressed prominently in the Observing and Forecasting lessons and integrated throughout the curriculum. Students routinely access and evaluate information, such as weather data from the National Weather Service; use and manage information, such as modifying datasets or preparing graphical representations; and apply technology effectively, such as using digital technologies (GPS, computers, and weather measurement tools). Lessons also ask students to use various software applications, including Google Earth, ImageJ, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Lessons such as “Climate Change” and “Historical Temperatures,” ask students to download data sets from the Internet and to build charts or graphs to analyze the data and make observations and predictions based on the information. In “GPS Mapping” and “Navigational Methods,” students work with instruments similar to those that scientists use. In the lesson “Mapping Sea Level Rise,” students create and explore topographical maps to study sea level rise. In the lesson “Project Jukebox,” students access digital media that includes oral history recordings, photographs, maps, and text, to make observations about climate change.

Many lessons explore the use of technology, including some that guide students through the process of building instruments to measure precipitation, wind, or temperature. The lesson, “Measuring Snowfall,” for example, asks students to use a precipitation gauge they built in a previous lesson to measure snowfall in their area. Students then collect and analyze data to determine whether or not their predictions were accurate.


21st Century Themes Interwoven with Science

In addition to teaching science from an inquiry and process perspective, fostering global awareness and civic literacy in learners is a key goal of the Arctic Climate Modeling Program.

In the program, students focus on both the global and the local real-life implications of climate change and policy decisions. The curriculum demonstrates how climate affects Alaska and the Arctic as a whole and prompts students to think about human adaptation, resilience, and responsibility.

To prompt students to think about weather and climate variation around the world, for example, students compare weather in their home community with a community in Hawaii in the lesson “Climate Comparison.” In another lesson, “Weather Proverbs,” students research weather proverbs from around the world, and follow up with “Testing Weather Proverbs,” to use the scientific method to test the accuracy of a proverb.

Native knowledge is interwoven into the curriculum to meet the needs of indigenous learners and broaden the horizons of non-indigenous learners. Multi-generational knowledge is shared through the oral history tradition in such lessons as “Traditional Stories about Wind,” “Elder Insights on Weather and Hunting,” and “Traditional Weather Observations.”


Life and Career Skills

Life and Career Skills involve flexibility and adaptability, managing goals and time, working independently, being self-directed, and interacting and working effectively with others. All the lessons facilitate the development of these skills, and their importance is underscored in teacher training.


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Framework for 21st Century Learning. 2004. Retrieved on July 27, 2009, from Partnership for 21st Century Skills website:

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. 2009, May 27. P21 framework definitions document. Retrieved on July 27, 2009 from Partnership for 21st Century Skills website: