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Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Spring 2010 issue: The Dynamic Coast: Living with Shoreline Change

Focus Questions

  • Along coastal South Carolina, what are the issues caused by rising sea levels?
  • How has the approach to climate change shifted? Why?
  • What are some examples of the ways in which communities are adjusting to rising sea levels? Using one example, name the pros and cons to a particular approach.

Use the Curriculum Connection to address South Carolina Standards

4th Grade: Weather
4-4.3: Summarize the conditions and effects of severe weather phenomena (including thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes) and related safety concerns.

5th Grade: Ecosystems: Terrestrial and Aquatic
5-2.3: Compare the characteristics of different ecosystems (including estuaries/salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands).

5th Grade: Landforms and Oceans
5-3.4: Explain how waves, currents, tides, and storms affect the geologic features of the ocean shore zone (including beaches, barrier islands, estuaries, and inlets).

5-3.6: Explain how human activity (including conservation efforts and pollution) has affected the land and the oceans of Earth.

9th – 12th: Biology
B-6.6: Explain how human activities (including population growth, technology, and consumption of resources) affect the physical and chemical cycles and processes of Earth.

9th – 12th: Earth’s Atmosphere
ES-4.7: Summarize the evidence for the likely impact of human activities on the atmosphere (including ozone holes, greenhouse gases, acid rain, and photochemical smog).

ES-5.7: Explain the effects of the transfer of solar energy and geothermal energy on the oceans of Earth (including the circulation of ocean currents and chemosynthesis).

9th – 12th: Physics
P-10.4: Explain thermal expansion in solids, liquids, and gases in terms of kinetic theory and the unique behavior of water.

Lesson Links

CRESIS: The Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets

The melting of polar ice is one of the major contributors to sea-level rise. The CReSIS program provides information relevant to both researchers and educators on the state of ice sheets and potential impacts of their shrinking. Educators should check out the website at to access links to both research and education resources. Located under the Educator section are a series of lessons, “Ice, Ice Baby,” suitable for grades K-8 and features the PolarTREC teacher blogs. Visit the site for posters, the book of the month, and more! (K-12th)

“Causes and Effects of Our Rising Seas”

Observe the results of melting glacial and sea ice for yourself! Check out the COSEE-SE activity “Causes and Effects of Our Rising Seas” found on that demonstrates how the melting of land ice compares with the melting of sea ice. (6th -12th)

“The Surge of the Storm”

Check the SECOORA website for hourly data on water temperature, air temperature, salinity, waves, currents, and more! The activity “Surge of the Storm” can be accessed from this site and shows the impact of storm surge to those coastal communities. With rising sea level, storm surge will become more of an issue of concern in the future. (6th-12th)

“Hurricanes as Heat Engines”

Increased temperatures are causing sea level to rise and are also causing the sea surface temperatures to increase. Hurricanes are cause for concern along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico communities and will have greater impacts based on these two changes. Check out to access inquiry-based activities such as “Hurricanes as Heat Engines.” (6th – 12th)

“The Effect of Sea-Level Rise on Marshes”

Salt marsh retreat and drowning are common ecological responses to rising sea levels. Explore the impact on sea-level rise with this activity from the University of Rhode Island:

Educational Extensions

  • Want to stay plugged-in to what the scientists say? Check out the N.C./S.C. Sea Grant Extension Climate Blog at and hear what local scientists are saying about climate change issues.
  • Check out the NOAA Climate Office for additional resources and information: .