Hands on experiments video to observe the two main causes of sea level rise

Thanks to the two experiments in the video "Investigating Sea Level Rise", your students will be able to introduce the two main causes of sea level rise, showing water expands when heated and that the melting of ice and polar caps leads to an inflow of freshwater. 

  application/pdf Sea level rise experiment instructions © Keith Hartle, Carol Young, New Zealand/SEREAD


1hour - 2.5 hours / 15 students  
Type of content: experimental activity to be done in class
Materials required:  a clear plastic bottle and container , a straw about 30cm long, a ruler, two types of food colouring, some Blu-Tack, a bowl, ice cubes, a flat rock



With these two experimental activities, your students will be able to examine for themselves the direct causes of rising water when it is heated and when ice melts.


The video "Investigating sea level rise" demonstrates to students the two reasons for sea level rise:

  • Because of thermal expansion -also known as the steric effect - water expands which means that its volume increases,
  • Because of the inflow of fresh water from melting ice and polar caps,

The experimental protocol is provided in the document as well as an observation, explanation and extension section. These different parts are accompanied by questions that your students will try to answer in order to initiate a discussion aiming at understanding their observations.