Translate page with Google

Lesson Plan September 26, 2016

Jewell: Climate Change, Archaeology and the Arctic: Using details to write persuasive letters



Kintisch writes the following about his expedition with archaeologist Anne Jensen: “Just last year the bluff, encrusted with artifacts, extended farther out toward the sea by about the length of a small school bus. All that’s there now is salty air.”

  • What are other examples in the article of how climate change is affecting the Walakpa Bay and the communities that live there?

How does Jensen conduct her research? Why does she value archaeological study of the arctic? Be prepared to share examples from the article.

  1. Read the following introduction from the article. What is the tone? How does the author’s word choice contribute to the tone?

    1. "A headless body, stretched out along the beach, appears through the smudged window of our ATV as we sail across the sand. There’s a windy lawlessness up here along the Chukchi Sea; I’m reassured by the rifle lashed to the lead ATV in the caravan. The archaeologist at the helm passes the decaying creature without pause. Anne Jensen has seen many headless walruses before—this one was likely already dead when it washed ashore and was relieved of its tusks. Jensen’s not worried about poachers; the rifle is for polar bears—the Arctic’s fiercest of predators. And Jensen seems entirely capable of staying calm and slamming a bullet into one."

  2. How would you describe Jensen? Identify sections of the article where the author’s word choice and syntax illustrate Jensen’s personality? Where do you see evidence of Jensen’s passion for this project? How does the author use word choice and structure to demonstrate Jensen’s passion?

How does the author describe Jensen’s relationship with the communities living at Walakpa Bay?


Discuss: How do you think scientists should navigate conducting excavations in areas where native communities have lived for centuries?

Research: Is Jensen’s engagement with the native communities in Walakpa Bay how most archeologists engage with native communities? Identify another archeological project and research how scientists engaged with local communities while conducting research. How does that project compare to Jensen’s?

Please help us understand your needs better by filling out this brief survey!

Will you use this lesson plan in a class you teach?
By sharing your email address, you are opting in to receive updates from the Pulitzer Center Education team.



yellow halftone illustration of an elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change