Sea Level Rise: The Ocean’s Uplifting Experience

Sea Level Rise: The Ocean’s Uplifting Experience


Tiffany Risch
Oceanography Teacher
Coventry High School
Coventry, Rhode Island

Lesson Feedback


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the concept of sea level rise as it occurs through climate change by having them examine 3 specific parameters:  ice distribution, thermal expansion, and analyzing and interpreting data.  The lesson and activities within the lesson were designed using the three dimensions of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards – specifically crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas. While there isn’t any required pre-requisite learning required for this lesson, a general understanding of sea level rise, glaciers, and climate may be beneficial to students. During classroom breaks, pairs of students will devleop/discuss their models, revise their interpretations of their models or data, and think-pair-share their thoughts on the investigation segments. This lesson will take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

The NGSS Performance Expectation HS-ESS3-5 is covered in this lesson: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

Instructor Biography

Tiffany Risch has been a science teacher at Coventry High School in Coventry, Rhose Island for the past 14 years. During this time, she has taught physical science, biology, physics, and oceanography. Tiffany's teaching methodology focuses on hands-on learning and real world-based connections, which were developed through her own interactions with scientists and through research-based professional development. She has explored ancient shipwrecks off the coast of Turkey and more modern shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico as part of two research expeditions. She has also modeled ocean and atmospheric science through programs at the U.S. Naval Academy and the National Weather Service, and has participated in various educator-at-sea programs. Tiffany's work led her to be selected as the 2014 American Meteorological Society’s National Distinguished Educator of the Year. She continues to teach passionately about atmospheric and ocean science, and encourages students to seek out research-based, real world opportunities outside of the classroom.

Additional Online Resources

Sea Level Trends
This site, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides a map analyzing sea level trends in North America, as well as a large number of resources for further study of rising sea levels.

National Ocean Service: Is sea level rising?
This resource, hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminitration, provides a higly readable, clear and comprehensive overview of the rising sea levels that Earth is now experiencing. Sea Level Rise
This site is sponsored by of the U.S. Global Change Research program, an agency that provides a gateway to authoritative science, tools, and resources to help people and organizations across the country manage risks and respond to changing environmental conditions.

National Geographic: Sea Level Rise
This article, “Sea Level Rise, Explained,” is sponsored by the National Geographic Magazine.

Bits of Science
This article is sponsored by the website,” bits of science”, and is entitled “Understanding Sea level Rise, Part 1: Thermal Expansion - a Physical Foundation of Several Metres, Irrespective of Melting.” 

Glacial Rebound: The Not So Solid Earth
This resource from NASA is entitled: ”Glacial Rebound: The Not So Solid Earth"

Scientists Quantify Global Volcanic CO2 Venting; Estimate Total Carbon on Earth
This article published by the Deep Carbon Observatory is an update on estimates of Earth’s immense interior carbon reservoirs, and how much carbon Deep Earth naturally swallows and exhales.