Thermal Expansion and Sea Level Rise
Lisa Gardiner, Windows to the Universe
Experiment will take one class period.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Short Demonstration/Experiment supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 Science and Engineering Practices
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Demonstration/experiment needs to be embedded in a lesson that explains the actual science around sea level rise. The given text can lead to misconceptions.
- Include a discussion on ice sheets and glaciers to reinforce climate literacy principles.
- Please reinforce the use of safety glasses.
- Pay close attention, the expansion happens quickly. Have students watch the water carefully.
About the Science
- A simple demonstration of thermal expansion.
- The description talks about sea level rise at the end of the last ice age as well as the most recent sea level rise. The numbers given are not referenced and not discussed sufficiently. A lot more background information is required for students to put them into context.
- Comments from expert scientist: Simple and clear experiment to demonstrate thermal expansion of water. Asks for predictions prior to observing what happens. Uses 14,000 years ago as the start of the present inter-glacial warm period. 10,000 years ago is the more commonly used and agreed upon.
About the Pedagogy
- Focuses on a single concept and demonstrates it quite well.
- Not too much supporting materials for teachers.
- Educators might need to improve the assessment provided.
- Comments from expert scientist: The learning outcomes ask students to compare and contrast thermal expansion with other ways sea level can rise and asks students to make predictions for coastlines. The resource only addresses the first learning goal.