Shoreline Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

Shelley Whitmeyer
,
James Madison University
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This page first made public: Jun 2, 2014

This assignment uses the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) developed by the USGS to evaluate multiple factors that affect shoreline stability.

Context

Audience:

Introductory Oceanography Course for non-majors
Geomorphology Class for majors

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:

Google Earth

General understanding of waves, tides, sea level rise, and coastal morphology

How the activity is situated in the course:

Stand-alone exercise (~2 hours)

National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:

Next Generation Science Standards: HS-ESS2-1, HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-5,

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity:

Evaluate variables affecting shoreline stability.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:

Data Analysis
Model Evaluation

Other skills goals for this activity:

Description of the activity/assignment

When students consider the causes of shoreline erosion they often assume waves are the controlling process. Although they are correct there are other variables to consider. This assignment uses the Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) developed by the USGS to evaluate multiple factors that affect shoreline stability. The two sites used in this example- Virginia and Maine, were deliberately chosen because the wave height, i.e. wave energy, is almost the same but the erosion rates are different. Maine is more stable (lower CVI) than Virginia (high CVI), but waves are not the reason the stability of these two shorelines differ. This forces students to consider other variables such as underlying geology and sea level rise.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students complete a table with the data they collect and answer several summary questions about that data.

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Supporting references/URLs

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Project, Lab Activity
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Introductory Level