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Sea Level: On The Rise

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Sea Level: On The Rise

Learners will understand the relationship between climate change and sea-level rise. In the first activity, they will learn that heated water causes sea level to rise through a process called thermal expansion. They will also perform an experiment to learn that melting land-based ice contributes to greater sea-level rise than melting sea ice.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 500-milliliter conical flask (Erlenmeyer flask)
  • Two-hole stopper
  • Hollow glass tube
  • Thermometer
  • Stand with gauze mat
  • Bunsen burner
  • Two identical clear food storage boxes (approximately 6 inches square) for each group
  • Eight sticks of classroom modeling clay for each group
  • One metric ruler for each group
  • One tray of ice cubes for each group (you may need to start storing ice cubes ahead of time)
  • 1 liter of water per group
  • Sea-Level Rise Data worksheets


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Geochemical Cycles
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Atmosphere
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Risks and Benefits
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, United States Environmental Protection Agency,