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Sea Level Changes

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 60 minutes.

Group Size:
Small Groups


Students will build models to demonstrate the effects of changing sea level on Earth’s surface area. They will graph their results.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - Earth Science
Standard 3 Objective 3

Examine the natural and human-caused processes that cause Earth's climate to change over intervals of time ranging from decades to millennia.


  • transparent plastic box (shoe box size)
  • rock large enough to take up about a third of the box
  • 250 mL beaker
  • water
  • marker
  • ruler
  • bucket, tray or sink to add or subtract water into
  • grid for transparency (attached)
  • student sheet (attached)


Instructional Procedures:

  1. Each group of 4 students should have a set of materials.
  2. Read introduction and instructions on student sheet.
  3. Brainstorm list of reasons with class that oceans might rise or fall. It should include:
    • Melting glacial ice due to warmer temperature.
    • Periods of extreme cold adding glacial ice to the land.
    • Warm periods causing evaporation, rain, allowing for additional plant growth
    • Moving land masses that create or destroy ocean coastlines and depths
  4. Allow students time to work and prepare their graphs.

Have students place a biodegradeable packing peanut or sugar cube on the shoreline to model a man-made structure. Have them note the affect of rising and falling oceans on the structure.

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Nov 06 2014 13:56 PM