In this Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum activity, students examine data pertaining to the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park. After calculating percentage change of the number of glaciers from 1850 (150) to 1968 (50) and 2009 (26), they move on to the main glacier-monitoring content of the module--area vs. time data for the Grinnell Glacier, one of 26 glaciers that remain in the park. Using a second-order polynomial (quadratic function) fitted to the data, they extrapolate to estimate when there will be no Grinnell Glacier remaining (illustrating the relevance of the question mark in the title of the module). Introductory material includes expository slides on the geology of the park (the Lewis Thrust, the Precambrian rocks, glacial features), a time series of photographs for Grinnell Glacier, and a USGS animation of the changing environments and disappearing glacial cover since 1850. The main QL content is interpolation and extrapolation.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number NSF DUE-0836566. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum, Module SSACgnp.GB2403.JAM1.6
Scholar Commons Citation
McIlrath, Judy, "Glacier (?) National Park" (2010). School of Geosciences Faculty and Staff Publications. 1450.