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Climate Change


K, 1st, 2nd


Science, Earth and Space Sciences


75 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Sea Level Rise (Water and Plant Survival #2)

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Feb 22, 2024
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In this lesson, students investigate why sea level rise is occurring and consider how people’s actions can alter its course.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students complete a coloring activity to represent the changes in sea level rise, offer ideas about why this is happening, and discuss its implications and their feelings about it.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students test their ideas about why the sea level is rising, discover their misconceptions, and confirm predictions.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students link art to awareness and brainstorm ideas for how to spread knowledge about sea level rise in their own community.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students work collaboratively to collect and report their observations.

  • This lesson features hands-on interaction with students’ predictions in order to dissipate misconceptions.

  • Students learn how art can be a powerful motivator for change.

  • Students collect data and build science practice skills.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 2 of 4 in our K-2nd grade Water and Plant Survival unit.

  • You will need to assemble a number of materials to set up the stations. A list of supplies and directions is provided in the Station Directions document. 

  • You will need ice for a number of stations. Remember to plan ahead in order to freeze it!

  • Station 4 (optional) must be run by an adult because it uses boiling water. Alternatively, you can do the experiment from Station 4 as a demonstration in front of the whole class.


  • You can set up the stations in the classroom or outside.

  • There are two versions of the Observation Journal, one with more room to write and the other with more room to sketch. Choose the one that is best for your students. 

  • All of the stations can be completed as whole group demonstrations.

  • Possible extension: Ask students to consider how to test their ideas from the Inquire section. Try some of their ideas and discuss if the results proved or disproved their hypothesis.

Scientist Notes
This lesson allows students to observe and measure the mean sea level, analyze the changes in the sea level, and convey the analysis using arts and painting. It improves their interdisciplinary skills and enables them to develop local strategies to respond to sea level rise impacts on their environment. All materials and videos have been reviewed and have passed the science credibility review.

Primary Standard

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • 2-ESS1-1 Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.

Supporting Standards

  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Measurement & Data (K-5)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 1 - Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
      • VA:Cr1.2.1a Use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 2 - Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
      • VA:Cr2.3.Ka Create art that represents natural and constructed environments.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 10 - Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
      • VA:Cn10.1.2a Create works of art about events in home, school, or community life.


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