Global Climate: Estimating How Much Sea Level Changes When Continental Ice Sheets Form
In this Spreadsheets across the Curriculum activity, students estimate the drop in sea-level during glacial maxima. They begin by estimating the surface area of the world's oceans, and then use ice volume data to approximate how much sea-level dropped. Students then see how to address one of the key assumptions of the model (area of continental shelf). With this backround, students re-evaluate the key assumption and determine the sea-level rise that would occur if the remaining ice melted.
- Create and work with spreadsheets in Excel.
- Gain experience using estimations to solve a problem .
- Gain experience using and considering significant figures.
- Gain experience using the basic geometric formula for surface area.
- Gain experience manipulating algebraic equations.
- Use estimates and simplifying assumptions to approximate the drop in sea level during the glacial maxima.
- Evaulate the validity of the simplifying assumptions they have used.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
PowerPoint SSAC2006.QE697.PB1.2-student version (PowerPoint 242kB May2 07)
The module is a PowerPoint presentation with embedded spreadsheets.
If the embedded spreadsheets are not visible, save the PowerPoint file to disk and open it from there.
This PowerPoint file is the student version of the module. An instructor version is available by request. The instructor version includes the completed spreadsheet. Send your request to Len Vacher (firstname.lastname@example.org) by filling out and submitting the Instructor Module Request Form (Acrobat (PDF) 91kB Aug20 12).