GETSI Teaching Materials >Ice and Sea Level Changes > Module Overview
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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Instructor Materials: Overview of the Ice Mass and Sea Level Changes Module

Module Goals
  1. Students will interpret geodetic data to assess spatial patterns and causes of ice mass loss.
  2. Students will evaluate the impact of ice sheet mass change on global and regional sea level and consider societal implications of ice sheet mass and sea level changes.
    Supports Earth Science Big Ideas ESBI-1: Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet, ESBI-3: Earth is a complex system of interacting rock, water, air, and life, ESBI-4: Earth is continuously changing, ESBI-5: Earth is the water planet, ESBI-9: Humans significantly alter the Earth and Climate Literacy Principles CLP-2: Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system, CLP-4: Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes, CLP-5: Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling, CLP-6: Human activities are impacting the climate system, CLP-7: Climate change will have consequences for Earth system and humans. (links open in new windows)

Summative Assessment
The summative assessment asks students to apply their learning about ice mass and sea level changes related to Greenland to similar data sets from the Antarctic. It can be administered as high-stakes exam questions, a homework assignment after the module has been completed, or an in-class exercise at the end of the module. Learn more about assessing student learning in this module.

Outline

The module covers material sequentially, but the units can also often be taught as stand-alone lessons. For instructors who do not wish to use the module in its entirety, suggested pairings are included in the "Context for Use" section on each unit's page.

Unit 1Rising concerns over rising sea levels

This introductory exercise prompts students to consider a variety of consequences of sea level change on Bangladesh, whose population density and low-lying elevation make this developing nation particularly vulnerable to sea level rise.

Unit 2Temperature—a global trendsetter

In this unit, students use temperature and sea level time series to calculate global sea level and temperature trends since 1980, and they use these data to forecast global sea level for 2100. They also compare their results to 2100 global sea level projections and generate ideas for the causes of sea level change.

Unit 3 Warm with a chance of melting

In this unit, students use 21st century Greenland temperature, ice elevation, ice velocity, and GRACE data to characterize spatial and temporal ice mass changes in Greenland. They also consider several mechanisms for ice mass changes using case studies of the Jakobshavn, Helheim, and Petermann glaciers.

Unit 4 An uplifting story of sea level change

In this unit, students use Greenland bedrock GPS and ice elevation data from 2000-2007 to investigate the concept of short- and long-term post-glacial rebound and the relative contributions of rebound and melting to sea level change.

Unit 5Regional sea level changes—a tale of two cities

In this unit, students compare sea level changes in different regions to decide whether sea level change is globally uniform, and they consider economic, social, and political consequences of future sea level changes on New York City and Southern California.

Making the Module Work

To adapt all or part of the Ice Mass and Sea Level Change module for your classroom you will also want to read through

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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »