Sinking island

Sinking island

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati recently announced its purchase of land in mountainous Fiji for its population to move to when sea level rises make life on its own low-lying islands impossible. In this activity students use data to predict sea level rises, including uncertainties, and decide whether humans are to blame for climate change. If humans are to blame, then should the biggest polluters pay for land for vulnerable islanders to escape to?


Learning objective

  • Apply knowledge about climate change to explain rising sea levels
  • Make a prediction about rising sea levels and estimate the uncertainty in their prediction
  • Evaluate evidence to decide whether humans are to blame for climate change

    Blueprint curriculum link

    • Unit: Atmosphere
    • Concept: Climate change: An increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has contributed to the greenhouse effect. The data show evidence of climate change and scientists use models to predict the likely impacts
    • Skills: Explanations: Critique the arguments and evidence for a claim
    • Learning stage: Analyse

     Activity contents

    • Pdf file

    The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.


    Kiribati video

    Video outlining the challenges faced by Kiribati as a result of rising sea levels.

    Newspaper article

    Recent article about Kiribati’s purchase of land in mountainous Fiji for vulnerable islanders to escape to when the time comes.

    Pictures of life on Kiribati

    Pictures about life on the islands.

    Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC)

    Useful teacher background and student extension materials. See, for example, the summaries for policy makers.