The Sea-Level Rise in the Classroom project fosters science-to-civics literacy through a high school curriculum focused on sea-level rise resilience.

Status: Active

Funded through the NAS Gulf Research Program, Sea-Level Rise in the Classroom is a curriculum developed through the collaboration of researchers and educators from the northern Gulf of Mexico. The curriculum enhances scientific, environmental, and civics literacy skills and capabilities of high school students through the completion of four modules. Each module consists of background material, several hands-on activities, and inquiry-based lessons. A culminating project allows students to explore simulated towns and create resilience plans. Following a cross-curricula approach, the lessons meet the NGSS and Ocean Literacy principles as well as state science and social studies standards. Continued educator use is supported by the Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation.

Module 1

Sea-Level Rise and Flooding Basics

Addresses the science behind sea-level rise and coastal flooding.

Module 2

Natural Solutions

Covers natural solutions as a pathway toward community resilience.

Module 3

Ordinance and Policy Solutions

Allows students to investigate the role of policy and ordinances as a pathway toward community resilience.

Module 4

Community Planning

Brings all of the solutions-based content together via community planning.

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Project Summary

Coastal flooding and sea-level rise coupled with above-average regional socioeconomic vulnerability and rapid development is exacerbating hazard impacts in the northern Gulf of Mexico. In order to actively develop and execute resilience actions, it is imperative for future natural resource managers, elected officials, and voters to understand potential risks to their communities. This project aims to help create an informed and prepared coastal citizenry possessing the understanding and skills necessary to reduce coastal vulnerability to flooding and sea-level rise.

Throughout project development we collaborated with area educators in coastal Alabama and Mississippi to develop and refine an engaging, hands-on curriculum for 9-12th grade students pertaining to flooding and sea-level rise resilience. The Project Team included researchers and educators with a range of focuses: sea-level rise science, wetlands, coastal engineering, community resilience, and education. The Advisory Panel of formal and non-formal science and social studies educators helped shape the direction of the lessons through an iterative process with the Project Team. Fifty-five area educators attended Educator Workshops to shape the curriculum and identify practical applications. The curriculum was implemented in classrooms across coastal Alabama and Mississippi through the Pilot-Test, teachers and students provided feedback for needed updates. After updates the curriculum was implemented in classrooms through the Beta-Test, and final updates were made to fully release the curriculum. Thank you to everyone who provided input in the development of Sea-Level Rise in the Classroom.

The process of developing the curriculum and results from the classroom testing has been been published in the Education & Outreach Special Issue of Continental Shelf Research. Read it online here: Fostering science-to-civics literacy through the development and assessment of a sea-level rise curriculum.