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Mapping Sea Level Rise

Geophysical Institute of University of Fairbanks

In this activity, students will learn the difference between sea ice and glaciers in relation to sea level rise. They will create and explore topographic maps as a means of studying sea level rise and how it will affect Alaska's coastline.

Activity takes 2 to 3 class periods. Additional materials are needed including access to a freezer and water.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 4 Cross Cutting Concepts, 2 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Resource involves different activities. Connections between activities have to be made clear by teacher.
  • Activity requires access to water and a freezer.
  • Assessment strategies are provided outside of this website. Unit information can be found at: http://www.arcticclimatemodeling.com/.
  • Educators in other parts of the country might want to introduce their local setting.
  • Students should be made aware of the effects of climate change on native populations along the coast of Alaska.

About the Science

  • Activity takes the classic lesson of melting sea ice vs. continental ice a step further and explains sea level rise and the representation in contour lines along the shore.
  • Google Earth offers some animations that can be used to simulate sea level rise http://services.google.com/earth/kmz/changing_sea_level_n.kmz.
  • Comment from the scientist: Sea level rise is a very complex issue, which is heavily based on Earth’s gravity field. The ocean will, therefore, not rise equally in all locations. This should not be the highlight but may be noted by the educator.
  • Comment from the scientist: Activity combines all the significant attributes that are important to understanding climate change at this grade level.

About the Pedagogy

  • Lesson on how to read a topographic map seamlessly integrates with sea level rise. Students then interpret the topographic map for their assessment.
  • Discussion questions are well guided.
  • Well-described and thoughtfully-designed handout.
  • Working in teams and class discussions help students with different learning styles.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Well organized and laid out for easy use by teachers and students. Lesson flows very smoothly through the different activities.
  • The DVD maps and photos of activity are provided. DVD is not embedded in lesson; it is included at: http://www.arcticclimatemodeling.com/multimedia.html or can be purchased for about $20.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

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