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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.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 6 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate's role in habitats ranges and adaptation of species to climate changes
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Climate impacts ecosystems and past species extinctions
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3c
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

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

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 reading 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.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 1

HS-LS2-6: Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-LS2.C1:A complex set of interactions within an ecosystem can keep its numbers and types of organisms relatively constant over long periods of time under stable conditions. If a modest biological or physical disturbance to an ecosystem occurs, it may return to its more or less original status (i.e., the ecosystem is resilient), as opposed to becoming a very different ecosystem. Extreme fluctuations in conditions or the size of any population, however, can challenge the functioning of ecosystems in terms of resources and habitat availability.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change

HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

HS-C3.1:The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs.

HS-C4.2:When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

Science and Engineering Practices: 6

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

HS-P3.5:Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

HS-P6.2:Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

HS-P8.2:Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.


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