Hydrosphere Lessons

Aquatic Food Web

Diatom Adventures – This activity can be used with introductory or review material for microbiology, ecosystems, or nutrition standards. Students complete the board game in teams of four as they discover the nutritional requirements needed by microbes (e.g. diatoms) for survival and reproduction. Trophic levels are also explored, in addition to predator/prey relationships occurring within the aquatic food web. (Credits: Miriam Sutton, Science by the Sea, developed this activity based on a Teacher at Sea experience aboard the R/V Melville while participating in “Collaborative Research: Investigating the Ecological Importance of Iron Storage in Diatoms” (Award Abstract #1334935) Research Project.)

Additional Resources for Diatom Adventures:

Depth and Pressure

Art Meets Science in the Deep Blue Sea – This lesson allows students to merge Art with Science as they explore the affects of pressure with increasing ocean depths. Styrofoam cups are made using foam and air in a way that adequate insulation can be provided for hot or cold beverages. The air is forced out of the cups by the increase in pressure when the cups are secured to marine equipment (e.g., CTD) and lowered to depths exceeding 500 meters. It is recommended that this activity be completed during a unit that explores Earth’s ocean; including its unique ecosystems and species found in the deep sea. Art and Science educators may work collaboratively on this activity to insure that appropriate art and science standards are met. (Credits: This lesson was designed by Miriam Sutton, M.A., NBCT during a Teacher at Sea experience aboard the R/V Melville while participating in “Collaborative Research: Investigating the Ecological Importance of Iron Storage in Diatoms” (Award Abstract #1334935) Research Project.)

Additional Resources for “Art Meets Science in the Deep Blue Sea”:

El Nino/La Nina

The Ocean and Weather: El Niño and La Niña (Students explore the weather phenomena El Niño and La Niña and their effects, map where they occur, and discuss the benefits of accurately predicting these phenomena. Credits: Naomi Friedman, M.A. Political Science, Christina Riska Simmons, Sarah Wilson, National Geographic Society. Source: Adapted from National Geographic Xpeditions lesson “The Ocean and Weather: El Niño and La Niña”.)

Remote Sensing/Tracking Oceanic Predators

Tag, You’re It! – This lesson provides a guideline for students to become Citizen Scientists as they explore relationships between migratory patterns in marine organisms with short and long-term changes in Sea Surface Temperature (SST). This lesson simulates a LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) study by allowing students to track shark migratory patterns over time using the OCEARCH Shark Tracker software and applications and NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) Climatology data sets. Students will compare OCEARCH’s satellite tracking data for pelagic apex predators (sharks) with NVS’s SST maps to observe for patterns and trends in migratory behavior. (Credits: Miriam Sutton, (Science by the Sea) and Carrie Lee (South Prairie Elementary) developed this activity during MBARI’s EARTH/Oregon Coast Regional STEM Education Center Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP), Workshop in Newport, OR, 2015.)

Upwelling

Upwelling: Cold One Day, Warm Another? (Using water temperature and wind vector data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility, students explore trends in nearshore upwelling. Written by: Kent Hathaway, Credits: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility, edited by Susanna Musick. Published by VIMS, College of William and Mary, The BRIDGE.)