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This experiment allows demonstrating the effect of melting large ice masses on sea levels. When sea ice melts during the summer and refreezes during the winter, there is no change in the volume of water in the ocean, as water, regardless of its state, is already part of the ocean's volume. On the other hand, water from the melting of accumulated continental ice (glaciers), when they melt, becomes incorporated into the ocean, directly contributing to an increase in water volume. This can lead to coastal inundation and the alteration of marine environments, posing risks to populations living near the coast. Thus, the melting of a significant portion of the sea ice covering the North Pole wouldn't change sea levels. However, if due to global warming, glaciers such as those in Antarctica and certain Arctic regions (like Greenland) were to melt, all that water would flow into the oceans, leading to an increase in sea level.

It is suggested that students formulate hypotheses beforehand, and that the topic be discussed both before and after the experiment, using additional materials such as news articles, videos, and allowing students to conduct their own research. The educational game "Polar Journey" and the activities "Climate Change: Fact or Fake?" and "Climate Change: What Can You Do?" can be integrated into this activity.


Alessandra da Conceição Zanin, Flavia Sant'Anna Rios, Sandra Freiberger Affonso, Suelen Zonta Kiem.




Understanding the Effect of Melting Large Masses of Ice  at ocean level, comparing the melt from ice floes (frozen sea) and continental glaciers.


  • Water

  • Ice cubes

  • 2 aquariums or 2 cups or 2
    other transparent containers

  • Pebbles (gravel) used for gardening or aquariums (option 1)

  • Sieve (Option 2

  • Marker pen (permanent marker)

  • Ruler

  • Printed image with polar landscape showing glaciers (optional)

  • Printed report (one for each student or group)

Support materials

Experimento 3.png
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