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CLEAN, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory


2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Experiments
  • Worksheets
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Videos, 3 minutes, 31 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, Polar Regions



What's Causing Sea Level Rise? Land Ice vs. Sea Ice

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  • In this experiment, students construct models to determine if land or sea ice contributes more to sea level rise.
  • Students monitor melting ice cubes and rising water levels in their models. Then, they record data and evaluate their predictions.
Teaching Tips


  • There is a student project page to walk students through the experiment with a helpful video tutorial.
  • This experiment requires minimal materials.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The teacher will need to freeze ice cubes ahead of time and use a tray that ensures they are uniform.
  • Students should understand climate change and how it contributes to melting ice and sea level rise.
  • It may benefit students to discuss how sea level rise impacts coastal communities.
  • Spanish subtitles are available for the video tutorial.
  • Students should know how to use a ruler and keep track of time in minutes.


  • Teachers can discuss other implications caused by fast-melting ice, such as flooding, drought, and positive feedback loops.
  • To make writing connections, have students write down their hypotheses and support them with evidence and reasoning.
  • Teachers can make math connections by having students graph their data from the student worksheet.
Scientist Notes

This resource is from the CLEAN collection. “The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness.”

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-4 Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth's systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • 2-ESS2-3 Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid or liquid.
      • 3-ESS2-2 Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.
      • 5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Measurement & Data (K-5)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.4 Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.D.9 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths of several objects to the nearest whole unit, or by making repeated measurements of the same object. Show the measurements by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in whole-number units.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.B.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
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