This homework asks you to write a 1-page article suitable for a magazine on some aspect of the Arctic. Pick a topic that interests you. Using class notes, links on the class website, and sources which you find on your own, research your topic. Focus on aspects which you think will be accessible and of interest to those unfamiliar with the Arctic. Write up the topic in the manner of a popular science magazine article (e.g., Scientific American), being sure to be accurate in your facts. You may use up to 2 illustrations in your article (included in the 1page limit), but if they are not your own original work, you must cite where they are from. The magazine article should be 1 page (12 pt font). On a second page, list the sources you used to research the article. You should list at least 2 sources (not including lecture notes).
For each source, state in broad terms what information it provided to you (e.g., overview of changes in sea ice extent, details of getting ice thickness from satellite data) and (importantly) how accurate a source you think it is and your reasons for thinking that. Grading (/35pts): Title – 2pt. This should be eye-catching or informative – preferably both. Sources – 10pts. For each of two sources - 1pt for source, 2pt for information provided, 2pt for correctly understanding the likely reliability. If less than 10pts, up to 2 alternative points for extra sources (1 per source). Factual Content – 12pts. The article should contain at least 4 checkable facts, accurately and accessibly explained (3pts per fact), e.g., “Arctic sea ice extent in 2007 was less than climatological predictions” would get 1pt – it is true, but doesn’t really tell us much accurately, and neither is it easy for someone to visualize. Better (2pts) is “In 2007, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea-ice in September was much less than typical for that month of the year” - ice extent has been explained, but the magnitude of the change is still a mystery to the reader. Still better (3pts) “In 2007, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea-ice in September (usually the month with least sea-ice) was much less than typical for that month of the year. It was only ¾ of the 2006 value, and less than the value for 1980 by an area about 1/3rd of the area of the United States. (Source: NSIDC)”. Message – 3pts. Does the article convey an interesting message?
Does it cover the basic relevant facts? First paragraph – 2pts. Does the first paragraph grab the reader’s interest and set the scene for the article? Last paragraph – 2pts. Does the last paragraph leave the reader with a clear message? Accessibility to those not familiar with the Arctic – 2pts. How well could a non-expert follow the article? Points will be given here for jargon that is well explained, or for avoiding jargon all together. Style/layout – 2pts. Is the article easy and interesting to read? Does it flow (i.e., is it well constructed)?
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