Are you a high school teacher that wants to bring a field-based and hands-on curriculum to your students?  The Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science (YESS) project is an innovative program empowering youth to actively participate in local climate change solutions.  High school students explore why sea level rise is happening and how their lives will be impacted through innovative classroom curricula with hands-on science. They collect their own data, create communications products, and contribute meaningfully to local science and policy decisions. YESS allows those who will be most impacted by climate change – young people – to have a voice on the issue and to spark a broader conversation about risk and resiliency.

We’re responding to climate change by using 21st century education practices to link youth directly with local governments, coordinated at a regional scale, at the precise time that long-term community planning is taking place.

During the 2015 – 2016 and 2016-2017 school years, we piloted the project with 125 students in three schools districts in the County totaling close to 500 instructional hours. San Mateo County’s YESS program continues to reach students in high schools throughout the County by supporting the use of the YESS curriculum and guiding students through projects that contribute to County and regional sea level rise planning. The program is divided into three primary components:

1.       Classroom learning.  First, students work through an NGSS and Common Core aligned curriculum to understand the causes and potential impacts of sea level rise.  We’ll be providing a flexible curriculum that includes several options for hands-on experiments, games, and interactive activities

2.       Field investigations.  Next, students collect real-world data about flood risk and potential impacts in their communities. Data can include King Tides photos of flooded areas for comparison with sea level rise projections, community interviews on public perceptions of flood vulnerability, and more.

3.       Public presentations.  Finally, students explore the data that they and their peers have collected, reflect on what they’ve learned and what sea level rise will mean to them; and construct final communications products based on their own interests.  Some final projects that students have completed include: a Spanish-language video about sea level rise vulnerabilities, posters about sea level rise science for community events in East Palo Alto, and presentations to the various governmental boards or committees.

Contact Carolyn Raider ( to learn more.