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The Once and Future Corals

Ari Daniel Shapiro, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This narrated slide show gives a brief overview of coral biology and how coral reefs are in danger from pollution, ocean temperature change, ocean acidification, and climate change. In addition, scientists discuss how taking cores from corals yields information on past changes in ocean temperature.

Slideshow length: 6:08 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate impacts ecosystems and past species extinctions
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3c
Evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4f
Increased acidity of oceans and negative impacts on food chain due to increasing carbon dioxide levels
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7d
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

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 want to provide the linked Oceanus articles to their students for more background information.

About the Science

  • An overview of how human activity is damaging coral reefs, and how coral can be used to investigate past climate changes. Paleoclimatology, ocean acidification, ecology, and pollution are all linked topics.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This video is narrated by Konrad Hughen, a respected geochemist who works with coral skeletal records. The video has good visuals and the narration tells a nice story about what corals are, and how coral reefs grow and record information on ocean history in their skeletons.

About the Pedagogy

  • There are links to Oceanus articles that fill in more science background on this slideshow. Educator should review the links prior to lesson to prepare for student questions and desire to explore.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Nice graphics. Narration very clear; appropriate grade level.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Performance Expectations: 1

MS-ESS3-5:Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Cause and effect

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

MS-C2.3:Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS3-4: Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.

HS-ESS3.C1:The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Cause and effect

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C2.4:Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects.

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