This is a short experiment to demonstrate the concept of thermal expansion of water when heated, as an analogy to thermal expansion of oceans due to global warming.
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Experiment fits well in a learning sequence on sea level rise and climate change.
Activity can easily be done without a bunsen burner. It works well if the flask is put in sunlight (which is a much more realistic set-up and better comparison to what is happening in the real world). It takes less than a 45-min class period for the water level to rise significantly.
Easy demonstration to support a discussion about thermal expansion and global sea level rise.
Additional background information necessary to support the concept of thermal expansion in oceans and the connection to global warming. This NOAA Ocean Heat Content resource could be very helpful: http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2011/climate-change-ocean-heat-....
Comments from expert scientist: Experiment is visual and simple to perform but the explanations are sketchy and some points are false. It is advised to track down other background materials for explanations.
Detailed instructions for the experimental set-up are included; activity can be done as a class demonstration or a hands-on experiment.
Hands-on activity will engage students of different learning styles.
The "Important points to remember" might confuse students. The wording is not scientifically clear, "If this heat from global temperature rise is passed on to the water, water expands and increases in volume." Another way to write this might be "As the heat from global temperature increases, it is passed on to the ocean. The ocean expands and increases in volume. At the present, warming of ocean water is raising global sea level because water expands when it warms."
If done without a bunsen burner this activity can be done in any classroom.