Impacts of Topography on Sea Level Change

This lesson is comprised of three activities (three class periods). Students use web-based animations to explore the impacts of ice melt and changes to sea level. Students are introduced to topographic maps by doing a hands-on activity to model the contours of an island. Students examine the relationship between topography and sea level change by mapping changing shorelines using a topographic map.

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Lise Whitfield
Bill McMillon
Judy Scotchmoor
Phil Stoffer
DLESE (Digital Library for Earth System Education)
Activity takes three 50-minute class periods. Additional materials are needed for one part of the activity.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

The animation of the increased sea level needs directions for use. Also, it should be called an "interactive" not an "animation." Directions for use are as follows: A click and hold will change the sea level when the mouse is moved up and down. Click, hold, and move left to right rotates the globe to view different continents. There is a command on the interactive toolbar that converts the mouse clicks and holds to zoom and lateral movement.

Great extension activity in supplement lessons is the one on fresh water availability and how it will be affected by sea level rise and economic impact.

Educator should try to discuss the homework from "Activity 3: Mapping Shorelines" to ensure student consideration of the impacts of ice melt and sea level rise. A class discussion may suffice.

Activity 3 needs more explicit directions for the worksheet students fill out.

The second activity should include safety precautions for working with sharp instruments.

Educators should check links and test computer simulation (segment 1) before teaching.

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