For many of us, our sense of wonder over our blue-marble planet began with a trip to the beach. The beach still remains the number one outdoor recreational activity for all Americans, with some 68 million of us hitting the ocean sand every year.
Looking out over a vast and seemingly unknowable ocean, or looking through a face mask into a world of brightly colored fish and corals, can also begin a child’s transformation—the realization that each of us is something much larger than ourselves, something both mysterious and deeply attractive.
To keep this time special we need to take care of the beaches we visit, whether for a day, a weekend or a summer. And to take care of the beaches, we need to enlist the help of the younger generations.
Source: KQED – Classroom Science
Project: Water Motion
In this lesson: Students are given an opportunity to interact with the aspects of physical oceanography that affect development of our ocean fronts. There are four separate units, each designed to build upon each other, but each can be used individually as well.
These lesson plans focus on:
1. Energy must be provided to move water. Movement of water determines the ability of water to transport materials.
2. Sand Movement Cycle: Sources of sand movement along the shore and the removal of beaches into trenches
3. What happens when human activity interferes with the normal sand cycle?
Source: NOAA – Ocean Explorer – Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exploration
Project: Deep Sea Currents
In this lesson: Students will learn about deep sea currents. Students will be able to discuss the general effects of topography on current velocity. Students will be able to describe, compare, and contrast major forces that drive ocean currents. Students will be able to discuss how velocity affects the ability of a current to transport sand. Students will be able to explain why deep-sea precious corals are more frequently found in areas having strong currents.
Today, diving and snorkeling have become hugely popular activities, with some 5 to 10 million Americans scuba-certified and 2 million actively diving on a regular basis. Divers and snorkelers often become leading advocates for the protection and restoration of marine wilderness.
Source: NOAA’s Aquarius Inner Space Station
Project: Physics of Underwater Diving
In this lesson: Students will learn how buoyancy, pressure and light affect underwater research. Students will be able to explain Archimedes’ Principle, and explain how this principle applies to scientists working underwater. Students will be able to identify the source of atmospheric and underwater pressure, and explain how these pressures vary with altitude and depth. Students will be able to identify two ways in which light is affected when it passes through water.
Source: NOAA’s Aquarius Reef Base – The World’s Only Undersea Research Station
Project: Engineering and Life Support
In this lesson: Students will be able to identify the basic needs for human life support in a non-terrestrial environment. They will also be challenged to use critical thinking skills to make the optimum use of a limited space, which must provide a base for research and day-to-day life. Students must also identify and mitigate safety risks.
He’e nalu or “wave sliding” is how the old Hawaiians described the ancient Polynesian sport that later became known as surfing. Observers and participants from Captain Cook to Lord Byron, Jack London to the Beach Boys have noted the wonders of surfing. It is a totally renewable use of the sea but one, like so many, that we have to work to protect from the impacts of coastal development and pollution.
Source: NOAA Ocean Service Education
Project: What Causes Ocean Currents and Waves?
In this lesson: Students will identify the primary causes for ocean currents and waves. They will explain how and why ocean currents vary with increasing latitude. Students will explain the cause of the Coriolis effect, and how this effect influences ocean currents. Students will calculate the magnitude of ocean currents, given data from drifter studies.
Some 12 million Americans enjoy recreational saltwater fishing, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They range from urban fishers taking their kids out on municipal piers to catch crappie, bass and queenfish for dinner to the owners of powerful deep-sea fishing boats going after big blue-water gamefish such as marlin.
Recreational fishermen and women were among the first to promote conservation of ocean fish and their habitat. Unfortunately, recreational fishers do not always protect the environment and as more and more people are attracted to the sport, they have to continue educating themselves to protect both the fish and their homes waters.
Project: Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Series
Link: www. pbs.org/emptyoceans/educators/activities/net-results.html
In this lesson: Students will study and replicate a model of the factors affecting fisheries populations in the Chesapeake Bay (or any other bay). Through a game they will investigate how decisions by watermen, recreational fisher people, and lawmakers influence and are influenced by economics and the abundance or scarcity of fish and shellfish stocks.
Also available in .pdf format: www.pbs.org/emptyoceans/educators/activities/docs/Activity-Net-Results.pdf
Source: NOAA – Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources
Project: International Collaboration
In this lesson: Students will learn how marine protected areas are used in various countries to protect natural and cultural resources. Students will be able to identify Internet resources containing information on international Marine Protected Area projects. Students will be able to describe a process for evaluating the effectiveness of marine protected areas. Students will be able to explain the relationships between biophysical, socioeconomic, and governance issues in marine protected areas.
In this lesson: Students will become familiar with the tragedy of the commons – where a limited common resource is overused because each individual person thinks, “If I don’t use this resource first, then somebody else will.” Students in this activity act as fishermen and women who need to share an ocean of fish and take in a catch. Groups soon realize that if they don’t set fishing limits and monitor the fish population, soon there are no fish left in the ocean.
Source: PBS – Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures
Project: Exploring the Decision Making Process for Marine Reserve Designations
In this lesson: Students learn about marine policy. The role-playing game is modeled after a decision-making process that occurred at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in Santa Barbara, California. In this activity, students will participate as members of the community to discuss resource management. Seven constituencies are represented: sanctuary managers, marine ecologists, squid fishers, lobster fishers, recreational fishing boat captains, recreational fishers and recreational divers.