LESSON 1: OCEAN MONITORING
This water quality and weather monitoring unit takes place over a nine month school year, with a two and a half hour session each month at a local monitoring site. The initial session trains the students the proper use of the tools used to conduct water quality and weather monitoring. All subsequent sessions are conducted in the field with students collecting their monitoring data. Each month data is recorded and can be shared with other classrooms. At the end of the year, students gather their nine month data and make interpretations. Collecting data over a nine month period of time will help students begin to understand the importance of long term monitoring, seasonal variability (difference between seasons/years), and compare inter-annual differences (daily, seasonal, decadal).
LESSON 2: ECOSYSTEMS
An understanding of the components of an ecosystem is an integral part of comprehending the importance of ocean monitoring. Students must distinguish between the types of producers and consumers within an ecosystem and how they interact with one another. An organism whose life cycle can be easily affected by changes in an ecosystem is the Pacific herring. Students will learn the phases of the herring life cycle and determine factors that can hinder or help them survive within an ecosystem.
LESSON 3: OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, CARBON CYCLE, AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The pH of a liquid is a measure of how acidic or basic that liquid is, based on the number of hydrogen or hydroxide ions present. If the pH of the ocean decreases to become more acidic, many marine ecosystems may be affected, particularly those including organisms with shells made of calcium carbonate, which is more soluble at a lower pH.
The carbon cycle is the cycle by which carbon is exchanged throughout the earth and atmosphere. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human and other activity lead to changes in global climate, which also has an effect on the earth’s ecosystems.