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This hands-on activity help students to understand how increased carbon dioxide emissions, from the burning of fossil fuels, is changing the acidity (pH) of the ocean. This is affecting the availability of calcium carbonate and thus the health and sustainability of coral reefs and the marine animals these critical habitats support.
After class discussions on the carbon cycle, students conduct a simulation experiment to see whether carbon dioxide is changing the pH of our oceans, and study this process using chemical equations that occur as a result of this ocean acidification.
An extension activity asks students to take part in an interactive learning experience which explores the Great Barrier Reef, and the effects of climate change on this diverse ecosystem.
This resource could be used to address learning outcomes in high school chemistry class associated with solutions, weak acid equlibria, pH, and combustion of hydrocarbons. It would also be used effectively in science classes studying marine ecosystems, the environmental implications of climate change on global habitats, as well as the importance of pursuing energy production techniques that will decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Geography teachers could use this activity to emphasize the link between human activity and environmental and economic sustainability.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
Some brief background information is given, the chemistry of ocean acidification is discussed and students take part in a demonstration and and a hands-on learning opportunity examining the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and the rising acidity of the waters on the planet. Students will draw their own conclusions.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The resource links human activity with the degradation of important coral reef ecosystems, habitat loss, and species decline. How individuals and communities depend economically upon the viability of these species for livelihood and survival are important considerations as well.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Although no authentic action plan is given the resource does promote an awareness of planet stewardship and indirectly, potential lifestyle changes which are required to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
Students have opportunities for some incidental discussion on their beliefs and values.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Good|
The video clips foster an appreciation for the beauty of, and a concern for the preservation of coral reef ecosystems.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Students, through guided inquiry, will see the link between their own energy consumption habits, the production of greenhouse gases and the effect that these have on the sustainability of marine ecosystems.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The extension activity, which examines The Great Barrier Reef, gives a good synopsis of the past, present and the future. If carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced and climate change continues, the coral reef ecosystems around the world are in jeopardy.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
A combination of structured and guided inquiry is used. Students develop their own conclusions and opinions.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This is primarily a science resource (chemistry and environmental science) but there are opportunities to address outcomes in geography.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Instructional approaches include a discussion of background information, reflecting on videos, watching a teacher demonstration of natural indicators and performing a simulation showing the relationship between carbon dioxide and deceasing pH levels in solutions.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The lab experiment is an effective simulation for the relationship between carbon dioxide and the creation of acidic solutions.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
Worksheets are provided for the experiment (with suggested answers), but there are no suggested rubrics for teachers to evaluate student work, or for peer or self evaluation.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Video clips provide effective case studies which promote an appreciation for the natural world and allow students to explore the consequences of ocean acidification in a meaningful way.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|