Vignette: Climate Change and Tides

Vignette: Climate Change and Tides photo of project

This lesson was piloted in four class sections of Honors Marine Science at a public marine-themed magnet high school. Ninety-eight students completed the lesson, working in groups of three to five students each. Final products include the media-based presentations as described in the lesson plan, as well as a one-page, text-only abstract of heir plan to help evaluate student understanding.

Working in groups of three to four students allowed gifted students to be challenged with team leading and coordination, and allowed for great exchange of ideas between students of all levels. Grouping students was very effective, but did increase the amount of time needed for the lesson. The additional time devoted to the lesson was rewarded with some great student projects, and some imaginative solutions to the problem of sea level rise. In total, students spent slightly over three hours of class time on the introduction and internet research aspects of the project, and did varying amounts of work outside of class on the project.

Coordinating this lesson with wave mechanics in physics would serve both courses, illustrating wave dynamics with practical applications, and reinforcing the concerns of sea level rise with support on wave behavior to take into consideration in their mitigation plans. Many of the locations chosen by students were significant historical sites, ranging from Venice, Italy, to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. New Orleans was selected by a two student groups, who used information from the Hurricane Katrina disaster to help design their project. Several groups chose small island nations, such as the Maldives and Tuvalu, with severe economic constraints as well as a huge coastline to contend with relative to land mass. This suggests easy and relevant connections with World History, Government, or Economics courses.

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