Home » Learning Scenarios » Save Venice (LS-IT-254)
Save Venice (LS-IT-254)
February 14, 2020
Environment, Face-to-face, Formal, Group dynamics, Inquiry-based learning, Italian, Learning Scenarios, Oral presentation, Project-based learning, STEAM (STEM + Arts), STEM skills, Upper Secondary Education

The aim of the lessons is to introduce students to using Fermi’s problems, starting from a nowadays challenge, the rise of sea levels due to climate change and the effect expected in on of the most famous coastal Italian city, Venice.
My name is Matteo Torre and I work as a math and physic teacher in an upper secondary school in Italy. I designed a learning scenario for physics classes for students aged between 15-16 years old (2 Liceo Scientifico).
The rise of sea-level
Students were divided into 8 small groups and they were invited to use their own devices (tablet, smartphone, PC, etc.) to solve the problems posed them during the lesson. The activity is divided in following steps:
  • How high would sea-level rise if all the glaciers on Earth melted?
  • Will Venice be submerged by a possible rise in sea level?
  • Can we use a Fermi Problem to save Venice? 
  • Try you to invent new Fermi problems on Venice
The final goal is to evaluate the meaning and reliability of the data available on sea-level change in Venice. 
The activity focuses on the estimation problems at Fermi, which is an estimation problem designed to teach dimensional analysis or approximation, and such a problem is usually a back-of-the-envelope calculation.
Dimensional analysis or approximation
We discussed effects related to earth overheating that could determine different sea-level rise (from a few centimetres to hundreds of meters), and how it is possible to interpret these data from a Physicist point of view. The beauty of Fermi problems, that some students translate into a meta-cognitive obstacle, is that there is no single right solution, but many possible proposals, all equally credible.
I decided to introduce the Fermi Problems in my learning scenario because in my professional experience they are an excellent example of a skills test for mathematics and physics, suitable for all types of students and school. These problems are named after the physicist Enrico Fermi (1901 – 1954), Nobel laureate in physics in 1938, who was known for his ability to make good approximate calculations with little or no actual data.
During the physic classroom activity, students have great benefits to use Europeana resources, in particular starting from a frontal view of a palace in Venezia to estimate the difference in height between high tide and low tide.

A student measuring the difference in height of different sea-level on a photo of a Venice palace form Europeana collection.
What benefits for the students?
The students used the detail on the trace left by the algae on the building and calculated both the level of the tide and the height of the balcony in order to understand which level is not sustainable from Venice. This didactic situation was very interesting because it created a problem of esteem inside a problem at Fermi and the students had the opportunity to estimate a value instead of just searching it on the Internet.
Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:
Did you find this learning scenario interesting? You might also like:
CC BY-SA 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by Fondazione Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura (BEIC).
Climate change
fermi problems
13 Responses to "Save Venice (LS-IT-254)"
brendanbuttigieg says:
February 15, 2020 at 2:43 pm
An interesting Learning Scenario. I liked that that you chose a contemporary topic, that of climate change. This is because we have to relate to today’s issues and educate the students about what everyone could do to minimize this problem. I am sure that group work, technology and that a good discussion about this subject might have made them more aware of the issue. Well done and thanks for sharing it!
matteotorre says:
February 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm
Many thanks for your comment! My educational ideas try to improve math and physics students skills also using real problems.
It is a plaesure form me sharing thi Learning Scenario and collect yours comments and remarks.
brendanbuttigieg says:
February 17, 2020 at 5:49 pm
You are very welcome! Its a very good idea that you use different subjects to help the students be critical thinkers and problem solvers. After all education is for life and not just for the exams and assessments. Well done!
ivanabusuttil says:
February 16, 2020 at 11:44 am
Well done! this learning scenario is interesting indeed. The fact that you focused your lesson on a current theme and something which is real and happening right now, makes this learning scenario even more engaging. Thank you for sharing.
ayrtoncurmi says:
February 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm
Wow, a very interesting topic choice. We are currently working on a project regarding climate change and the students are finding it very interesting. As effective educators, we should help our students be aware of such issues. You implemented various interesting learning opportunities for your students and I’m sure that your students were motivated to learn more. Thank you for sharing.
Keep up the good work!!
Alexandra Duarte says:
February 17, 2020 at 4:10 am
Dear Matteo,
Excellent idea to intertwine such a worrying current issue, a world-famous and World Heritage Site in your country and Physics! Besides all the learning associated with the developed tasks, this is definitely an effective way of developing students’ awareness towards climate change and its devastating consequences, namely in Venice.
Congrats on your choice of topic and on your LS.
Best wishes,
dilajlapavletic says:
February 22, 2020 at 11:49 am
Climate change, sea-level rising, glaciers melting….something that needs to be taught from an early age. Great idea!!!!! Also, making this problem real with your idea of measuring the difference in height between a high tide and a low tide is beneficial and crutial for students too understand the importance of Global warming. Very simple but at the same time very real and efficient. Great job!!!!!
yildizerdogmus says:
February 22, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Very interesting LS , Thank you very much for innovative ideas!
anitalasic says:
February 26, 2020 at 6:45 am
Dear Matteo,
this learning scenario is an intriguing one. It is interdisciplinary and in my opinion really makes students become aware of the burning issue of climate change. It is a great idea to include Fermi’s questions because they make students think creatively and outside the box about the problems and strategies to solve them. Including Venice is the added value to this project.
Anita Lasić
marcinjablonski says:
March 5, 2020 at 11:03 am
An interesting Learning Scenario. I liked LS that you chose climate change and technology!
Stephanie Maggi-Pulis says:
April 16, 2020 at 12:32 pm
Interesting LS to enable a problem solving approach. I enjoyed learning on the use of Fermi problems which I gained through this Ls. Connecting to a real life situation that is a truly challenging problem like that for Venezia is great and enables students to look around, think critically and possibly take action. I am sure that this lesson is one which they gained a lot of skills…. more than meets the eye.
Many thanks and well done!
vittoriavolterrani says:
April 29, 2020 at 7:07 am
Very intersting scenario!
Above all, I appreciated the possibility of reasoning and formulating hypotheses on important and topical issues, making students the centre of learning.
They can train different 21st century skills
Thanks for sharing.
marcinjablonski says:
April 30, 2020 at 10:03 am
Hi Matteo
Climate change, sea-level rising, vvery important topics, here on a specific example we can show this to a young person, which is caused by disrespect for the climate. Great job!!!!! We can train different 21st century skills in one LS !!
Thanks for sharing.
Leave a Reply
How can I contribute to the blog?
The Teaching with Europeana blog is a space for all teachers to share their experience. For this reason, any interested teacher can submit stories of implementation to be published on the blog.
We would be happy to hear more about your suggestions!
Please use our online submission form to suggest a story of implementation.
To guide you through writing your first story of implementation, you can download the guidelines for writing a story of implementation for the Teaching with Europeana blog.
Looking for something specific? Search per category!

Level of Education: 
Early childhood & Primary Education
Lower secondary
Upper secondary
VET and adult education

Language subjects
Diversity and Inclusion


Type of implementation:

Key competences promoted:
STEM skills
Digital literacy
Physical and emotional well-being
Cultural awareness and expression

Methodology and trends:
Flipped classroom
Project-based learning
Cooperative learning
Problem-based learning
Inquiry-based learning
Game Based Learning

Type of education:

Type of Activity/Task:
Role game
Group dynamics
Mind map
Oral presentation
External visit
Coordinated by
The content presented on this site was produced under the Europeana DSI-4 projectwhich is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union. The content has been developed by the Europeana DSI-4 Teacher Ambassadors, the Europeana Education User Group, the Europeana Foundation and European Schoolnet. This site is the sole responsibility of the organizer and it does not represent the opinion of the European Commission (EC), and the EC is not responsible for any use that might be made of information contained.
About Teaching with Europeana
Teachers from across Europe and beyond are creating learning scenarios in order to use cultural heritage materials from Europeana in their classrooms. They are also implementing the scenarios of other colleagues and sharing their stories of implementation. Join the community and discuss and learn how to integrate cultural heritage materials in your classes!
© 2021 Teaching With Europeana - All texts are CC BY-SA, images and media licensed individually
About Teaching with EuropeanaContact usEuropeana Education Competition 2021Europeana Education Competition 2021 – Promo toolsPrivacy PolicyTeaching with Europeana best practices 2019-2020Terms of service