CReSIS participates in middle school summer workshop for sixth year


By Lauren Debes
Summer 2014

CReSIS participates in middle school summer workshop for sixth year

This summer, Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina hosted a CReSIS Middle School Workshop for 11 sixth grade students.

The students, all from local middle schools, were selected by teachers based on academic merit and participated in a number of activities involving math and science during the workshop. Cheri Hamilton, K-12 Outreach Coordinator at CReSIS, attended the event for her sixth year and taught the students for two days.

(LEFT) Cheri Hamilton works hands-on with students at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina during the middle school workshop this summer. | Credit: ECSU Cerser/ CReSIS

“We talked about climate change and how it could affect their city. We also did a sea-level rise activity that teaches them how to read and look at flooding through a topographic map,” Hamilton said.

Lessons on sea-level rise proved highly relevant because of students who live close to the Pasquotank River bay. The students were asked to mark where they would choose to live on a map of Elizabeth City, then learned about contour lines through an Ice, Ice, Baby! activity. A number of students had recently encountered flooding first-hand and were surprised that the location they chose to live would be underwater if the sea level were to rise.

Hamilton then taught a lesson on the movement of glaciers through a hands-on activity with Glacier Goo. The students designed their own experiments and used recycled containers to build a glacier chute and test their hypotheses.

(RIGHT) The 11 participating sixth graders learned about sea level change, how glaciers move and more during the science workshop. | Credit: ECSU Cerser/ CReSIS

In recent years, the students have proven more knowledgeable on climate change and global warming than ever, Hamilton said.

“This year the group was surprisingly knowledgeable about climate change compared to years past, so it must be taught and emphasized in classrooms," Hamilton said. "There was a time where I couldn't even talk about global warming. I couldn't say climate change. Those words weren't used in classrooms,”

These small changes encourage educators, she said. Fun and educational science-based programs such as these aim to inspire future generations to do their part in helping combat climate change.