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CER Writing, Citizenship, Climate Change


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, English Language Arts


55 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides

One-Two Punch: Extreme Rainfall and Sea Level Rise in New Jersey

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Oct 2, 2022



In this lesson, students explore increased precipitation and sea level rise in New Jersey and advocate for a climate adaptation strategy. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students explore two interactive maps showing increased precipitation and sea level rise in New Jersey.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students learn the causes of increased precipitation and sea level rise in New Jersey.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students choose and advocate for a climate adaptation strategy by communicating to leaders in government and business.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson can be used in English, social studies, or science classes.
  • Students are given voice and choice in this lesson.
  • Students become agents of change in their own communities.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the basics of climate change and sea level rise.
  • Students will be advocating for climate adaptation strategies. Climate adaptation strategies are ways humans are adapting to a changing climate. This is different from climate mitigation, which are ways humans are slowing down climate change. Climate mitigation strategies include reducing fossil fuel use and ending deforestation.
  • The first two videos in the Investigate section will autoplay only the segment of the video that pertains to this lesson.
  • The Investigate section features six different resources. These resources (four videos, one map, and one podcast) should not take that much time individually.


  • Students' communication can be as simple or as thorough as you desire. They will need more time to research and craft their communication if you want their writing to be more fact-based and robust.
  • Some students may wish to communicate their advocacy via social media. Make sure to follow all school rules and monitor students' progress if you allow this in the classroom.
  • Allow students to pursue other methods of communication, adaptation strategies, and recipients not listed in the chart in the Inspire section.
  • In certain situations, it may be best to allow students to teach their family and friends about increased precipitation and sea level rise. This could be used as a replacement activity instead of student communication to government and business leaders.
Scientist Notes

In this lesson, students will learn the basics of sea level rise and extreme rainfall and how that specifically is impacting New Jersey. They will also be introduced to a variety of ideas and technology to combat the increased flooding due to these things. Finally, they will be inspired to take action and propose an idea that will benefit their local community. All the videos have been reviewed for accuracy. The two mapping tools also explain where they are getting their data from. This resource is recommended for teaching.

  • English Language Arts
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Social Studies
    • Active Citizenship in the 21st Century - Civics, Government, and Human Rights
      • 6.3.8.CivicsPR.4: Use evidence and quantitative data to propose or defend a public policy related to climate change.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
15 minutes
  • Students explore the interactive Probable Futures map showing change in total annual precipitation at various future warming scenarios.
    • Students click on the various warming scenarios at the top, exploring how precipitation in New Jersey will change depending on climate change.
    • Students can explore other Maps of Precipitation, including "change in wettest 90 days" and "change in frequency of '1-in-100-year storm.'"
  • Students explore the interactive NJFloodMapper map.
    • Teacher explains the social vulnerability index.
    • Students follow instructions on the Teacher Slideshow and on their own Student Document.
    • Students compare the social vulnerability index with sea level rise.
    • Teacher leads a brief discussion on sea level rise and social vulnerability.
  • Students complete questions 1-2 on the Student Document.
20 minutes
20 minutes
  • Students advocate for a climate adaptation strategy related to increased precipitation and sea level rise.
  • Students select:
    • How to communicate
    • One specific climate adaptation strategy
    • The recipient of their communication
  • Teacher shares the provided 15-point rubric.
  • Students use the provided resources at the bottom of the Student Document to conduct more research.
  • Students complete their advocacy by communicating directly to local government, state government, or local business leaders.


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