Gazebo Gazette

Students from four high schools in coastal Mississippi recently took part in sea-level rise lessons and created resilience plans to address flooding issues in Gulf Coast representative but fictional communities as part of a new science curriculum. 

The “Sea-Level Rise in the Classroom” curriculum included making resilience plans and taking them to virtual Hazard Summits to compete against other students. The Mississippi Summit was held on April 23rd

Educators from the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, Alabama School of Math and Science, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Smart Home America, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Mississippi State University and University of South Alabama developed the curriculum to enhance science and civics literacy skills.

Elle Diaz, C.C. Annulis and Lance Yon from Pass Christian High School won first place at the Mississippi Hazard Summit for their project detailing a plan to plant living shorelines through community effort. Second place was awarded to Blayne Lee and Jaheam White from Gautier High School

The Mississippi schools that participated in the Hazard Summits and helped test the curriculum included Gautier High School, Oak Grove High School, Pass Christian High School and Pascagoula High School. 

The Sea-Level Rise in the Classroom curriculum focuses on the science behind sea-level rise and coastal flooding, individual and community resilience actions, natural solutions, the role of policy and ordinances, and community planning. 

For the curriculum’s culminating capstone project, students explored fictional Gulf Coast towns and created resilience plans to address future sea-level rise issues. They received a thorough town description, including population density, social vulnerability, income levels and vulnerabilities due to sea-level rise and flooding. Taking the town descriptors and different stakeholder perspectives into account, the students created a resilience approach for their town.

The top student group from each school competed in a virtual Hazard Summit event. The teams presented their resilience plans to local resilience professionals who asked questions about their proposed approaches to sea-level rise challenges and scored the groups on the strength of their plan.

The Sea-Level Rise in the Classroom curriculum project is funded by a National Academies of Sciences Gulf Research Program grant. For more information, visit http://masgc.org/northern-gulf-of-mexico-sentinel-site-co/slr-in-the-classroom.