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NCSE Roundup: Lesson Plan for Teaching About Rising Sea Levels

NCSE Round-Up: Lesson Plan for Teaching About Rising Sea Levels

This week in the National Center for Science Education news, NCSE guest blogger Kottie Christie-Blick shares with fellow educators a fun way to teach climate science change through a comprehensive lesson plan on rising sea levels.

The lesson is part of NGSS’s Earth’s Systems Unit and is best used with middle school students. The lesson plan helps students understand the “dynamics of our planet” by having them use physical models to simulate glacial melting and resulting sea level rise.

"Before class, I set up six of the model coastal towns around the classroom, and filled the ‘ocean' with real water. During the lesson, four students gathered around each model. They used their imaginations to get 'inside this world.' Each child chose a house (black rectangle on the model), and discussed with their group what it was like to live there. This was an important step to activate the children’s imaginations, and encourage them to develop some emotional attachment to 'their homes,’” Christie-Blick said.

In just 40 minutes, students used ice to simulate ice caps and glaciers and with the models, saw how the melting ice caused the ocean levels to rise, almost submerging their houses.

"To help students clarify their thinking, I asked them to draw in their science journals a flow chart, a cause-and-effect sequence showing the chain of events, and to identify which Earth systems were being affected each step of the way. Although the simulation happened quickly, the learners witnessed multiple steps in the sequence of events from increased greenhouse gases to the flooding of a town,” she said.

Read the full lesson plan here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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