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Using Data to Identify Hot Spots and Predict Bleaching Events
http://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/corals/6.html

Erin Bardar, LuAnn Dahlman, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College, EarthLabs Project

In this EarthLabs activity, learners explore the concepts of coral bleaching, bleaching hot spots and degree-heating weeks. Using data products from NOAA's Coral Reef Watch, students identify bleaching hot spots and degree-heating weeks around the globe as well as in the Florida Keys' Sombrero Reef to determine the impact higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures have on coral reefs.

Activity takes about 2-3 class periods. Computer and internet access is required.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Individual organisms survive within specific ranges of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and sunlight. Organisms exposed to climate conditions outside their normal range must adapt or migrate, or they will perish.
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Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species. The distribution patterns of fossils show evidence of gradual as well as abrupt extinctions related to climate change in the past.
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Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change. Animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses will migrate to new areas with favorable climate conditions. Infectious diseases and certain species will be able to invade areas that they did not previously inhabit.
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Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:A) Organisms, populations, and communities
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A) Organisms, populations, and communities.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:C) Systems and connections
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C) Systems and connections.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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The world contains a wide diversity of physical conditions, which creates a wide variety of environments: freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others. In any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms depend on the physical conditions
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Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Teachers may wish to create additional robust formative questions and a summative assessment.

About the Science

  • Lab activity uses published NOAA data sets and satellite imagery to identify and analyze regions of coral bleaching.
  • Students participate in making models, analyzing data, interpreting animations and time-series graphs.
  • High-quality background materials and references are provided for both the teacher and the students.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The text and background descriptions for the activity are generally all strong. I like that the activity uses real data and images from NOAA. I like the hotlink options to show how to interpret the map scales.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students work in small groups, which may improve their team-work skills.
  • Students need to be able to read graphs and interpret keyed satellite images.
  • To successfully complete the modeling activity in Part A, students should complete Lab2 (http://serc.carleton.edu/earthlabs/corals/2.html) or have prior knowledge of coral physiology.
  • It is recommended that the teacher becomes familiar with the site and the tools used on the site prior to teaching this lab.
  • "Stop and Think" questions are posed for formative assessment, but many educators will want to create additional questions to assess learning gains.
  • Teachers may wish to ask students to compare and contrast coral bleaching to other coral diseases, with regard to causation, impacts, and minimizing damages.
  • A summative assessment strategy could require learners to pull together and summarize the data they have examined, perhaps from a difference location than the ones provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Student groups will need computer access to complete the activity.
  • Teachers should spend some time (on the order of ~2 hrs) familiarizing themselves with the site and tools prior to using this lab with students.

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