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Investigating Coral Bleaching Using Real Data

Carolyn Joyce, Viola Todd, NOAA Ocean Data Education (NODE) Project

This sequence of activities using real-world data to explain the importance of coral reefs and the relationship of coral reef health to the surrounding environment. Unit includes five activities.

Instructional unit takes about twelve 45-minute class periods to complete all 5 activities.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Activities could be conducted individually or in groups, depending on extent of access to computers.
  • Educators could complete the online computer portion as an entire class if internet/computer access is limited.
  • Although 5 activities are provided, educator could choose to use selected activities depending on the students' prerequisite knowledge and available time.
  • Teacher's guide is very robust and should be reviewed carefully before doing the activities with students.

About the Content

  • In this series of activities, students are guided through the use of NOAA data (sea surface temperature and SST anomalies, coral bleaching hotspots, and degree heating weeks) to understand how scientists monitor coral bleaching events in order to determine what is happening to the health of coral reefs in the world's oceans.
  • Explains how the duration and intensity of sea surface temperature affects coral reef health as well as how scientists track and measure the duration and intensity of sea surface temperatures.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The information presented here is of strong interest to the public, and the visuals, including weather maps, are effective in conveying information. The information is up to date and the experts have impressive and appropriate credentials.

About the Pedagogy

  • Provides a downloadable step-by-step teacher's guide with clear student objectives and is aligned to Next Generation Science Standards.
  • The teacher's guide explains how each activity level is designed around NGSS Standards and Climate Literacy standards.
  • Provides thorough science background and ideas for evaluation for each activity.
  • Provides links to other related NOAA resource for further exploration or background information on coral reefs.
  • Activity progresses to ultimately achieve autonomous exploration of real-world data by the students.
  • Activities are very structured and designed to increase in depth and complexity from the first through the final activity.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Internet access needed initially; some of the activities can be completed offline.
  • Mapping/data interfaces are very easy to understand and use.
  • Downloadable teacher's guide and all student masters. Students complete the activities on a computer but it would be possible to complete them on a single computer and project to the class if computers are not available to all students.
Entered the Collection: June 2015 Last Reviewed: June 2015

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