RIPR In The Classroom: Battle With The Sea

Aug 4, 2016

Listenwise helps teachers use stories from their local public radio station with students in their classrooms. Working with RIPR we identify relevant local news stories, design and develop classroom resources around them and make them available for free on the Education Blog. If you want to find more public radio stories and lessons for your middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science classrooms you can sign up for a free account! 

Block Island's former landfill is at risk of crumbling into the sea.
Credit Ambar Espinoza

Story Synopsis

Recent hurricanes, along with ongoing climate change, are washing away an old, capped landfill on Block Island. As the land erodes, pieces of trash and debris are falling onto the beach and into the sea. Local residents and visitors are troubled by the contamination of the beautiful island. Engineers are trying to design solutions to the local problem, while leaders around the world are fighting against climate change. Listen to hear more about the environmental threats to Block Island.

Use with grades 6-9 NGSS Standard MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Assign these questions to your students or answer them together in a group.

  1. Which specific events have threatened the environment on Block Island?
  2. In what ways are climate change and weather events changing Block Island?
  3. What have engineers designed to solve the problem at other coastal landfills? Could this work on Block Island?
  4. What are the challenges facing engineers as they design solutions to the problem at Block Island?
  5. What are global leaders doing to resolve these types of issues?

Discussion Themes

Use these questions to get students thinking at the beginning of class. They can use evidence from the story to support their ideas during a class discussion.

  1. In what ways does climate change affect the weather and environment near where you live?
  2. What do you think would be a creative solution to the problems at Block Island?

More Resources

Literature Connections:

  • Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The Carbon Diaries, Saci Lloyd