Summary: As the ocean’s temperature increases, its volume expands. In this topic guide, students use a model to demonstrate the relationship between water temperature and volume, and then use their findings to describe the impact a warming ocean has on sea level.
Concepts to teach:
- Crosscutting Concepts
- Cause and Effect
- Disciplinary Core Ideas
- PS1.A – Structure and Properties of Matter
- Science Practices
- Developing and using models
- Heated water has more volume than cooler water due to a process called thermal expansion.
- Thermal expansion is the primary cause of climate induced sea level rise.
- A model can demonstrate a scientific concept.
Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations
- MS-PS1-4. Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate that heated water has more volume than cooler water due to a process called thermal expansion
- Explain how sea level rise results in part from thermal expansion.
- Use a model to demonstrate a scientific concept.
Activity Links and Resources:
- COSEE’s Thermal Expansion and Sea Level Rise—In this experiment, students measure the relationship between water volume and water temperature. This activity can be performed as a demonstration, or at the high school level, in student groups.
- What happened to the water level as the temperature increased?
- What caused the water level in the flask to change over time?
- Would salt water react the same way as fresh water? How could you design an experiment that would test your hypothesis?