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Hudson River PK


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Experiments
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, New York City



STEM Climate and Our Coast

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  • This lesson challenges students to design, build, test, and revise a model of an adaptive structure to protect the New York City coastline from rising sea levels.
  • Students will learn about the difference between weather and climate, the greenhouse effect, the threat of flooding due to sea level rise, and strategies to mitigate flooding.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will love this hands-on and collaborative activity where they can showcase their creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • The resource includes pictures of students participating in the activity, which makes it easier for teachers and students to visualize the activity in their classrooms.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The lesson is available in five other languages.
  • Teachers must provide various materials for students to use to build their designs. Teachers could also ask students to bring in materials from home.
  • A student worksheet is provided.
  • Students should understand that the sun's energy creates heat.


  • This lesson is perfect for engineering classes to practice the design and testing process.
  • Earth science classes can use this resource when learning about the impacts of climate change on coastal communities and sea-level rise adaptation strategies.
  • The background information about weather and climate, climate change, and the greenhouse effect is brief. Teachers can supplement with other StC resources, such as this video about weather vs climate and this interactive simulation of the greenhouse effect.
  • Students can present their final designs to the class and share what challenges they faced in the process.
  • Students can research the structure types to make more informed design decisions before beginning the experiment.
Scientist Notes
This lesson will help students understand the difference between weather and climate. This climate science information is all accurate and vetted science. This lesson also includes information on climate change impacts and the hands-on lesson will help students understand the challenges of protecting land against climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
      • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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