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The Ocean's Green Machines
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a010400/a010497/Oceans_Green_Machines_640x360_ipod.m4v

NASA

This video introduces phytoplankton - the base of the marine food web, the source of half of the oxygen on Earth, and an important remover of CO2 from the atmosphere. The video also explains how satellites are used to monitor phytoplankton and how warming waters and acidification negatively affect phytoplankton.

Video length 5 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Life—including microbes, plants, and animals and humans—is a major driver of the global carbon cycle and can influence global climate by modifying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere. The geologic record shows that life has significantly altered the atmosphere during Earth’s history.
About Teaching Principle 3
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Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling
About Teaching Principle O
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Growing evidence shows that changes in many physical and biological systems are linked to human-caused global warming. Some changes resulting from human activities have decreased the capacity of the environment to support various species and have substantially reduced ecosystem biodiversity and ecological resilience.
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6d

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
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Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.
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Plants on land and under water alter the earth's atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide from it, using the carbon to make sugars and releasing oxygen. This process is responsible for the oxygen content of the air.
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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

  • This video could fit in any lesson or unit dealing with ecosystems, oceanography, marine biology, plants, or taxonomy.
  • A tiny drop of sea water, typically a staple lab exercise in most middle school classrooms, could be explored and tied into a lesson on the ocean food web. This video would make a nice complement to close out the lesson and tie the concepts together by demonstrating how something so small could have such a large impact on Earth's climate system.
  • Might be a great addition to a middle school level classroom on the food web and how climate change is affecting the web of life.

About the Science

  • Green Machines is a NASA video that discusses phytoplankton as an important carbon sink. NASA satellites monitor global changes in phytoplankton and relate to changes in ocean sea surface temperature this past decade.
  • Video documents importance of phytoplankton to marine food chain and how scientists can study changes in phytoplankton density from satellites.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Well-told story of how these tiny plants play such a vital role.
  • The video covers a lot of topics quickly (introduces phytoplankton, ocean acidification, stratification) which may confuse some students.

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