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Sea Level Changes

Main Core Tie

Science - Earth Science
Standard 3 Objective 3

Time Frame

1 class periods of 60 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


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


  • 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.

Created: 11/06/2014
Updated: 02/05/2018