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Paleontological Research Institution


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Physics, Mathematics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, 32 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Thermal Expansion & Sea Level Rise

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  • This video by the Paleontological Research Institution describes thermal expansion, how it can be measured experimentally, and how the equation can be used to answer important questions. 
  • It details how thermal expansion causes a significant amount of sea level rise with increasing temperatures. 
Teaching Tips


  • This is a great video of a thermal expansion experiment and the speaker walks students through the equation at a good pace.
  • The graphs about sea level rise are impactful.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You may want to teach your students how to navigate between metric and imperial units.
  • If you decide to replicate this experiment in your lab you will need the appropriate materials ready beforehand.


Scientist Notes
This resource uses a simple experiment to demonstrate the principle of thermal expansion and apply it to the larger issue of sea level rise. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-5. Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
  • Mathematics
    • Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models (9-12)
      • M.F.LE.B.5 (F2Y) Interpret the parameters in a linear or exponential function in terms of a context.
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