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Using Long-Term Data From Antarctica To Teach Ocean Acidification, Patrica S. Thibodeau Jan 2020

Using Long-Term Data From Antarctica To Teach Ocean Acidification, Patrica S. Thibodeau

VIMS Articles

There is a mystery to be solved! This lesson plan asks students to identify the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of ocean acidification (OA). Global oceans have absorbed approximately a third of the CO2 produced by human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, over the past decade (Sabine et al. 2004). This accumulation of CO2 in the ocean has lowered average global ocean pH and decreased the concentration of carbonate ions (CO/ ) (Fabry et al. 2008). As a result of this OA, the carbonate chemistry of the global ocean is rapidly changing and affecting marine organisms (Orr ...


Trees Of The Seas, Michelle Woods Jan 2020

Trees Of The Seas, Michelle Woods

Reports

Grades: 6-8 Subjects: Biology | Life Science


What are harmful algal blooms and why do they occur?

In this lesson plan, students will run their own experiments to investigate how eutrophication can cause harmful algal blooms and investigate strategies for preventing them.


Zoop Soup (And Poop!), Kristen Sharpe Jan 2020

Zoop Soup (And Poop!), Kristen Sharpe

Reports

Grades: 6-12 Subjects: Biology | Life Science | Environmental Science | Oceanography

Microscopic poops with a global impact!

Students learn about the ecological and global importance of zooplankton and their fecal pellets in the ocean carbon cycle. Students are guided through the scientific method while participating in an activity that simulates real sediment trap fecal pellet research. Students hypothesize where a sediment trap was set based on the "fecal pellets" contained in their sample, identify source species using a dichotomous key, count and weigh biomass of pellets, and graph and share results with classmates.


What's In The Muck? Benthic Sediment Characterization And Community Structure, Cristin Wright Jan 2020

What's In The Muck? Benthic Sediment Characterization And Community Structure, Cristin Wright

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Biology | Environmental Science | Oceanography


Sediment classification and grain size can affect the types of organisms that live in the sediment. Some organisms prefer sandier sediment, while others love the fine-grained mud.

In this activity, students will classify sediment samples by grain size and plot their findings on a ternary plot. The students will then further investigate which benthic organisms live in the different sediments and which may be more resilient to a change in sediment classification.


Old Macdonald Had An Aquaculture Farm, Shantelle Landry Jan 2020

Old Macdonald Had An Aquaculture Farm, Shantelle Landry

Reports

Grades: 6 Subjects: Earth Science | Natural Resources

With this activity, students will learn the importance of aquaculture and how it can be used to manage a resource.


Wave Fever: The Climate Induced Range Expansion Of The Atlantic Marsh Fiddler Crab, Kayla Martinez-Soto Jan 2020

Wave Fever: The Climate Induced Range Expansion Of The Atlantic Marsh Fiddler Crab, Kayla Martinez-Soto

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Biology | Environmental Science | Oceanography

In 2014, scientists found that the Atlantic marsh fiddler crab had extended its northern limit by ~90 miles to New Hampshire, which is in the Gulf of Maine. Range expanding species can alter salt marsh characteristics such as biodiversity and food webs. In this lesson, students will combine sea surface temperature data from a federal database and fiddler burrow densities from field photos to determine the relationship between ocean warming and range expansions.


The Code In The Water: An Investigation Into Harmful And Non-Harmful Algal Blooms, Samantha Fortin Jan 2020

The Code In The Water: An Investigation Into Harmful And Non-Harmful Algal Blooms, Samantha Fortin

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Biology | Environmental Science | Oceanography

Algal blooms can be detected using the DNA extracted from water samples. This activity allows students to identify algae and understand the causes of algal blooms.


Dichotomous Keys: An Essential Tool For Fish Detectives, Jackson Martinez Jan 2020

Dichotomous Keys: An Essential Tool For Fish Detectives, Jackson Martinez

Reports

Grades: 6-8 Subjects: Life Science | Biology

How do scientists identify an unknown fish?

In this activity, students will utilize a dichotomous key to identify unknown fishes from the Chesapeake Bay and will then characterize their trophic levels based on feeding preferences and adaptations. Students will gain an understanding of organism classification, trophic level interactions, and how fishes may play different trophic roles throughout their lives.


Feeding Time: How Nutrients Drive Phytoplankton Growth, Brianna Stanley Jan 2020

Feeding Time: How Nutrients Drive Phytoplankton Growth, Brianna Stanley

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Biology | Environmental Science | Oceanography

This lesson plan helps students make the connection between the amount of nutrients present in an ecosystem and the resulting growth of phytoplankton in our coastal waters. This lesson takes this concept a step deeper, by exploring how the proportions of nitrogen and phosphorus in the environment create the ideal conditions for phytoplankton growth. Students will explore the concept of limiting factors and will work on both their graphing skills and their ability to compare ratios.


Isotopes In The Estuary: Conception And Application Of Stable And Radioactive Carbon, Derek Detweiler Jan 2020

Isotopes In The Estuary: Conception And Application Of Stable And Radioactive Carbon, Derek Detweiler

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Chemistry | Environmental Science | Oceanography

In this interactive estuary-focused activity, students will examine stable and radioactive isotope data which provide information about the source and age of environmental samples such as plant and soil matter. Students will calculate average isotope ratios from five reference land types (forest, wetland, agriculture, industry, aquatic) and an unknown site within an estuary. Students will graph their calculated ratios and determine the land type that most impacts their estuary based on reference-to-unknown comparisons.


Tiny Killers, Sarah Pease Jan 2020

Tiny Killers, Sarah Pease

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Biology | Environmental Science | Oceanography

What different methods and new technologies are used to monitor harmful algae and the toxins that they produce?

Students will learn about how harmful algae threaten human health through the processes of bioaccumulation and biomagnification. In small groups, they will design a harmful algae monitoring program based on mock harmful algae data, and then they will test their monitoring program and discover some of the challenges and limitations of any monitoring plan that attempts to measure variable, natural events.


Sequence Csi: The Nitrogen Cycle. Subjects: Life Science, Environmental Science, Marine/Ocean Science - Grades: 9-12, Stephanie Wilson Jan 2019

Sequence Csi: The Nitrogen Cycle. Subjects: Life Science, Environmental Science, Marine/Ocean Science - Grades: 9-12, Stephanie Wilson

Reports

This lesson invites students to work together to identify a mystery DNA sample using state of the art biotechnology.

After identifying the organism, they can work with another group of students to hypothesize about how the different organisms are related to one another. Students will learn that the samples are connected through the nitrogen cycle! This gives students an introduction to scientific molecular techniques and environmental nitrogen cycling.


Expedition Sediments: Mud's Journey Through The Watershed. Subjects: Earth Science / Environmental Science Grades: 9-12, Jessie Turner Jan 2019

Expedition Sediments: Mud's Journey Through The Watershed. Subjects: Earth Science / Environmental Science Grades: 9-12, Jessie Turner

Reports

Expedition Sediments is a game-in-a-lesson that allows students to explore the movement of sediments through watersheds by moving around the classroom. This lesson explores how grains of estuarine mud and sand move throughout estuaries and coastal regions, with a focus on processes surrounding a highly populated estuary such as the Chesapeake Bay. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain how sediments are transported through an estuary, graph sediment residence times in different locations, and compare the timescales of different sediment transport processes.


Trawling Through The Five Gyres: A Microplastic Research Study. Subjects: Life Science, Earth Science, Marine/Ocean Science - Grade 6, Meredith Seeley Jan 2019

Trawling Through The Five Gyres: A Microplastic Research Study. Subjects: Life Science, Earth Science, Marine/Ocean Science - Grade 6, Meredith Seeley

Reports

This activity challenges students to help researchers understand what types of plastics are polluting the oceans!

Teachers will prepare samples of microplastics that were collected in each of the 5 ocean gyres, mimicking plastic concentrations actually found in the oceans! Working as a group, students will count the items of plastic and graph their results. They will share their results with the class to compare their gyre to the other four gyres. Finally, students will understand the link between ocean microplastic pollution, and our use of single-use plastics.

This activity can be completed in 45 minutes in the class. An ...


Atlantic Wolffish: A Tale Of Missing Teeth. Subjects: Life Science, Biology, Marine/Ocean Science - Grades: 6-8, Kate Bemis Jan 2019

Atlantic Wolffish: A Tale Of Missing Teeth. Subjects: Life Science, Biology, Marine/Ocean Science - Grades: 6-8, Kate Bemis

Reports

This lesson plan asks students to make observations based on photographs of real specimens from a natural history collection.

Students collect data to make graphs, which allow them to compare trends for how different variables impact the ecology of Atlantic Wolffish.


Prismatic Little Plankton. Subjects: Life Sciences, Physical Science/Chemistry; Marine/Ocean Science - Grades: 9-12, Kristen Sharpe Jan 2019

Prismatic Little Plankton. Subjects: Life Sciences, Physical Science/Chemistry; Marine/Ocean Science - Grades: 9-12, Kristen Sharpe

Reports

This is a hands-on interdisciplinary activity that incorporates the fun of biology into physics!

Students participate in chromatography experiments to investigate the properties of plant pigments found in various fruits and vegetables, representing pigments commonly found in various species of marine phytoplankton. The students then apply what they've learned to create and analyze a chromatogram of a mystery "algal" sample to determine which species of phytoplankton are in the sample based on the pigments present. This activity simulates phytoplankton community analysis research done using High Performance Liquid Chromatography at VIMS.


One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Whose Fish? Subjects: Life Science, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science, Shelby White Jan 2019

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Whose Fish? Subjects: Life Science, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science, Shelby White

Reports

This activity invites students to assume the role of various stakeholders in fisheries management and actively discuss the influence of economics, ecology and human interactions in decision-making.

Students will demonstrate their argument for/against a certain regulation by participating as a specific stakeholder (i.e. commercial fisher, recreational fisher, scientists/researcher, environmental group, management agency, and citizen). Students will recognize that stakeholders tend to advocate based on their individual needs, often making it difficult for proposed policies to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders and achieve sustainability goals.


Investigating The Functions Of Wetlands, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia Jan 2019

Investigating The Functions Of Wetlands, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia

Reports

Grade level: 2-5

Subject area: Life Science

Students will perform two experiments using models of wetlands to learn about the ability of wetlands to prevent erosion, control flooding, and soak up pollutants. They will apply this knowledge in an activity using metaphors to describe a wetland.There is also an outdoor activity that may be added to teach students about a particular type of wetland, the saltmarsh, and adaptations for plants that live in those environments


Mitigating Marshes Against Sea Level Rise: Thin-Layer Placement Experiment, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia Jan 2019

Mitigating Marshes Against Sea Level Rise: Thin-Layer Placement Experiment, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia

Reports

Students will learn about thin-layer placement restoration techniques by using data from the first year of a plot-based thin-layer restoration science project being conducted by the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia (CBNERR-VA). In groups, students will analyze images of vegetation plots exposed to different treatments and decide which is performing best and could be used as a possible restoration technique to combat sea level rise in the marsh. Students will also interpret graphs of vegetation percent cover, and use classroom discussion to come to a conclusion using critical thinking.


Watershed Activity Set, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia Jan 2018

Watershed Activity Set, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia

Reports

Grade level: 2-5

Subject Area: Life Science

This lesson plan contains 3 activities which can be used together or separately. The first activity demonstrates the overall concept of a watershed by having students build a simple model, the second connects watersheds with habitats and pollution - asking students to design their own watershed. The third module examines more closely human activities and their impacts on watersheds using an Enviroscape(TM) model.


Understanding Changes In Seagrass Communities, Sarah Nuss, Celeste Venolia Jul 2017

Understanding Changes In Seagrass Communities, Sarah Nuss, Celeste Venolia

VIMS Articles

Seagrass is an incredibly valuable habitat in the Chesapeake Bay. Students will use mock seagrass patches, modeled after a research transect along Goodwin Island, Virginia, to analyze change in seagrass percent cover during, and following, a major die-off event in 2010. Students also analyze water quality graphs from the same time period to help them determine why the die-off may have occurred.


Marine Parasites And Fish: How To Sample And Analyze. Subjects: Life Science / Biology, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grades: 6-8, Zoemma Warshafsky Jan 2017

Marine Parasites And Fish: How To Sample And Analyze. Subjects: Life Science / Biology, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grades: 6-8, Zoemma Warshafsky

Reports

This lesson plan provides a hands-on way for students to investigate the impacts of an invasive parasitic nematode which has been targeting the American eel. Students will first “infect” pipe cleaner eels with parasitic nematodes (beads), which will then be used to simulate real-life research efforts through collecting multiple random samples of “eels” and counting the amount of parasites. They will then use this data to calculate prevalence, mean intensity, and mean abundance.


Microscopic Hitchhiking: Taking A Trip With Microbes And Plankton. Subjects: Life Science / Biology, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grades: 6-8, Lucia Safi Jan 2017

Microscopic Hitchhiking: Taking A Trip With Microbes And Plankton. Subjects: Life Science / Biology, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grades: 6-8, Lucia Safi

Reports

This lesson plan develops concepts on food webs and ecological relationships, giving special attention to microorganisms and Chesapeake Bay species and dynamics. Students will conduct investigations, generate their own data and find out more about species they constantly see!


Earthquakes, Glaciers, And Sediments, Oh My! Subjects: Earth Science, Environmental Science, Life Science/Biology Grades: 9-12, Elisabeth Clyne Jan 2017

Earthquakes, Glaciers, And Sediments, Oh My! Subjects: Earth Science, Environmental Science, Life Science/Biology Grades: 9-12, Elisabeth Clyne

Reports

This lesson plan is developed for 9th grade earth science classrooms, but can be scaled up or down. Students will explore how marine sediments serve as a history book for geologic activity. They will collect mock cores and developing conclusions about earth history.


Keeping Up With Sea-Level Rise: Salt Marsh Accretion. Subjects: Earth Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grades: 9-12, Bethany L. Williams Jan 2017

Keeping Up With Sea-Level Rise: Salt Marsh Accretion. Subjects: Earth Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grades: 9-12, Bethany L. Williams

Reports

This lesson uses a hands-on demonstration to give students an understanding of how this critical ecosystem can keep pace with sea-level rise. Students will have the opportunity to make and test hypotheses about how different animals can affect salt marsh resilience, after learning about simple ecological interactions.


Understanding Changes In Seagrass Communities: Impacts From Local Environmental Factors, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia Jan 2017

Understanding Changes In Seagrass Communities: Impacts From Local Environmental Factors, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve In Virginia

Reports

Grade Level: 7-12

Subjects: Life Science, Biology, and Environmental Science

Students will work in groups to determine what happened to seagrass communities during June and August in 2010 and 2011. Students will estimate percent cover visually at four locations along a mock transect and analyze trends in the data collected. Students will use water quality data to help understand the trends in seagrass cover.


Plastic As A Habitat For Bacteria And Human Pathogens. Subjects: Life Science / Biology Grades: 6-8, Amanda Laverty Jan 2017

Plastic As A Habitat For Bacteria And Human Pathogens. Subjects: Life Science / Biology Grades: 6-8, Amanda Laverty

Reports

This lesson plan invites 7th grade life science students to investigate marine plastic pollution as a habitat for bacteria and human pathogens. Students will examine the hazards of marine plastic pollution and learn about current science. They will have the opportunity to use data to create graphs and discuss patterns.


Counting Blue Crabs In The Bay! Subjects: Life Science / Biology, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grade Level: 6-8, Bruce W. Pfirrmann Jan 2017

Counting Blue Crabs In The Bay! Subjects: Life Science / Biology, Environmental Science, Marine / Ocean Science Grade Level: 6-8, Bruce W. Pfirrmann

Reports

This lesson plan invites students and teachers to ponder the question: How many blue crabs are in the Chesapeake Bay, and where do we find them? Through hands-on activities and the use of real data, students will discover the excitement and grapple with the challenges faced by marine scientists as they try to quantify the use of different habitats by marine animals and estimate the size of marine animal populations.


Sea Turtle Csi: A Graphing Activity, Subjects: Life Science / Biology Environmental Science Marine / Ocean Science, Bianca Santos Jan 2017

Sea Turtle Csi: A Graphing Activity, Subjects: Life Science / Biology Environmental Science Marine / Ocean Science, Bianca Santos

Reports

This lesson plan invites seventh grade students to take on the role of detective to determine the time of death of the stranded turtle that washed up on shore. Students will make observations and use evidence-based reasoning to turn qualitative data into quantitative data


The Mystery Of Ocean Acidification, Patricia Thibodeau Jan 2017

The Mystery Of Ocean Acidification, Patricia Thibodeau

Reports

Grades: 9-12 Subjects: Biology | Life Science | Environmental Science | Chemistry

This lesson plan invites middle-school students to solve a mystery: what is ocean acidification and how is it affecting marine life in the Antarctic? To solve the mystery, students will participate in an ocean acidification scavenger hunt, and propose hypotheses and arrive at their own conclusions with interpretation of real-time data from the Antarctic.