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Changing Planet: Ocean Acidification

NBC News, Windows to the Universe

This video addresses acidification of the ocean and the ecological and economic implications of the resulting pH change on marine life. It includes information about how ocean acidification resulting from increased absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere is affecting ocean species such as sea urchins and oysters. Scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara discuss their experiments with sea creatures in acidic sea water. There is an associated lesson plan and classroom activity that has students test the effects of CO2 on water pH.

Video length: 6:20 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea
High School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Increased acidity of oceans and negative impacts on food chain due to increasing carbon dioxide levels
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7d
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

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 provides background information and images that act as good introduction to a discussion or learning activity about ocean acidification.
  • It can be used as stand-alone or in conjunction with the related Lesson Plan.
  • The lesson plan and activity are both long and involved, but provide good grade-level appropriate, hands-on experiences. It is possible to parse this activity into several shorter exercises that could be effective. The last two pages of "thought" questions can perhaps be re-purposed for tests or the like; as is, they are not an engaging way to end the lesson.

About the Science

  • This video is on the NESTA Windows to the Universe website - see http://www.windows2universe.org/ but is originally from NBC Learn website - http://www.nbclearn.com/changingplanet.
  • It was produced by NBC News with support from the National Science Foundation.
  • Passed initial science review.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Shows both lab and field approaches. Explains the questions addressed by the lab experiments.
  • Shows observations of pH over time (shows the data graphically), and makes appropriate links from human actions changing atmospheric CO2, to impacts on ocean creatures, to impacts on other human activities (seafood harvesting).

About the Pedagogy

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • This is one of 19 videos in the Changing Planet NBC Learn series (as of 7/1/11).
  • The video can be viewed online but downloading requires a subscription.
  • The production quality of the embedded video is low-end Youtube level.
  • The associated classroom activity requires significant setup, but the necessary materials are likely to be available in most schools.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Windows to the Universe resource: http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/changing_planet/ocean_acidification_intro.html

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

MS-LS2.C1:Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-LS2.B3:Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important components of the carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

HS-PS3.D2:The main way that solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis.

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