SUBJECT - ECOSYSTEMS


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Coral Cores: Ocean Timeline - NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Using x-ray images of actual coral cores taken from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, students learn how corals generate calcium carbonate skeletons in layers and what those layers can tell us. Students also relate sections of these cores to the history of ocean exploration.

Concept: Ocean exploration
Less than 5% of the ocean has been explored; however, the ocean is a great resource, so in order to better understand the ocean we need to employ inquiry and investigation. Emphasis is placed on history of ocean exploration and on changing technology.

Education Standards




The Nitrogen Cycle - COSEE Coastal Trends


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students put together “puzzle piece” print-outs of the compounds comprising the nitrogen cycle and string the pieces together to reconstruct the pathways of the cycle.

Concept: Geochemical cycles
The ocean is an integral part of the geochemical cycles. It is connected to land-based waterways, which transport materials to the ocean.

Education Standards




Carbon Cycle Game - Windows to the Universe


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students learn how carbon cycles through the Earth system through an online game.

Concept: Geochemical cycles
The ocean is an integral part of the geochemical cycles. It is connected to land-based waterways, which transport materials to the ocean.

Education Standards




History's Thermometers - NOAA Ocean Explorer


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students track climate changes through changes in oxygen isotopes using data from deep-sea corals.

Concept: Global climate change
Ocean processes have major effects on global climate change; global climate change could have major impacts on the ocean.

Education Standards




Create a Bacterial Ecosystem - COSEE Coastal Trends


Lesson Plan 

Summary
In this activity, students mix mud, water, a carbon source, and a sulfur source together in a clear bottle to create a stratified “column” of bacterial communities. Activity requires time to set up in the classroom as well as periodic observations as the "column" stabilizes (4-6 weeks)

Concept: Ocean microbes
Microbes are an important component of ocean life.

Education Standards




Where do the Critters Live? - COSEE Coastal Trends


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students investigate the influence of ocean temperature on the distribution of marine organisms by comparing online ocean temperature data to temperature tolerances of various organisms

Concept: Biotic and Abiotic Interactions
Abiotic processes affect ocean life.

Education Standards




Wetlands: Marsh Elevation - University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science


Lesson Plan 

Summary
In this field investigation, students visit a local wetland to explore plant zonation. Students construct a transect, use quadrats to count grass species, and graph their findings.

Concept: Coastal ocean life
Coastal ocean systems provide important habitats for organisms.

Education Standards




Wetlands: The Fragile Fringe - USGS


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students explore wetlands through a series of lessons ranging from wetland identification to investigating the beneficial functions of wetlands and causes of wetland loss.

Concept: Coastal ocean life
Coastal ocean systems provide important habitats for organisms.

Education Standards




Rocky intertidal: Monitoring the Intertidal with Life-Sized Photos - Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students use photo quadrats of a real rocky shoreline to investigate the zonation of organisms in the rocky intertidal zone. Note: links to photo quadrats and organism ID guide are listed in the Materials section.

Concept: Coastal ocean life
Coastal ocean systems provide important habitats for organisms.

Education Standards




Rocky intertidal: Ocean Habitats: The Intertidal Zone - PBS American Field Guide


Lesson Plan 

Summary
Students explore rocky shore intertidal pools and organisms through a series of videos and associated questions. 

Concept: Coastal ocean life
Coastal ocean systems provide important habitats for organisms.

Education Standards





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