Fast Rising Sea Level on U.S. East Coast

Learning Objectives

Students will read a recent science news article and discuss the content.
Depending the on the article, students may be asked to draw connections to current events or other classroom exercises.

Standards Addressed

Depending on the article, one of these standards may be most appropriate:

Subject Area - 1: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

     Standard Area - 1.3: Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature - Fiction and Non-Fiction

          Grade Level - 1.3.6: GRADE 6

               Standard - 1.3.6.A: Read, understand, and respond to works from various genres of literature

                    Assessment Anchor - R6.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.

Preparation Time Needed

<30 minutes, enough time to read the article and associated questions, answer the questions, and possibly come up with more that are relevant to recent class exercises. 

Activity Description

(Part of the PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.)

Sea-level rise is projected to rise twice as much in the northeast United States than along the coast of the rest of the nation and roughly three to four times faster than the global average.

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • Explore sea-level change over time (geologic time and recent time). 
  • What causes changes in sea level?
  • Why is the coastal region of the eastern United States being impacted more than the rest of the United States coastline? 
  • What data do scientists use to model sea-level rise?
  • Can we as humans stop or slow down sea-level change?  What are your thoughts?
  • National parks are protected lands.  With the rise of sea level, should national parks on the east coast still be protected?  What would be the benefits?  The costs?
  • Do you think humans should “stay put” on the east coast, or pack up and move?  Why/why not?
  • Is this rapid sea-level rise because of natural causes, human activity, or a combination of both?  What is your evidence to support your point of view?  What other evidence would you like to further support your ideas?

Compiled September 1, 2012, by L.A. Guertin. Teachers are encouraged to search for more recent articles and related discoveries.

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