In this lesson, students use geometry to investigate how the melting of all the ice in Antarctica would impact sea level rise.
Step 1 - Inquire: Students speculate how one could use geometry to calculate the water level produced by a melting block of ice placed on a classroom table.
Step 2 - Investigate: Students follow mathematical steps to answer the question "How much would sea levels rise if Antarctica melted?"
Step 3 - Inspire: Students explore the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities and the measures being taken to build resilience.
Positives
Students see a real-world application of geometry tied to an important consequence of climate change.
Students practice volume and surface area formulas.
Teacher answer key is included.
Additional Prerequisites
Teacher needs to acquire some ice for the Inquire section.
Students should be familiar with imperial and metric units.
Differentiation
Higher-level classes can work out the steps of the problems independently, while lower-level classes can follow the steps on the Student Document and Teacher Slideshow from the beginning.
The teacher can select one unit of measurement by editing the Student Document to use only meters and kilometers or to use only feet and miles.
The teacher can use occasional check-ins. For example, the teacher could stop the class after Step 1 in the Investigate section. This would help make sure all groups have similar answers and are off to a good start with the problem.
The teacher can select one resource in the Inspire section and explore the resource as a class instead of having the students explore the resources independently.
This lesson explores calculating the amount of sea level rise from melting the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Students see a real-world application of geometry tied to an important consequence of climate change. All materials have been fact-checked, and the lesson is credible for teaching. Considerations not mentioned in this lesson plan include the impact that the Greenland Ice Sheet would be simultaneously contributing to sea level rise, and that half of the current sea level rise is due to the thermal expansion of water.