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The Buffer Zone: Acid-base Chemistry in the World
http://resources4rethinking.ca/en/resource/the-buffer-zone-acid-base-chemistry-in-the-worlds

Stefani Hines, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

In this activity, students conduct a short hands-on demonstration that simulates ocean acidification resulting from excess atmospheric carbon dioxide and discuss potential implications of increases in ocean temperatures and acidification due to climate change.

Activity takes about 60-90 minutes to complete. Additional materials necessary.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 1 Cross Cutting Concept, 3 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Increased acidity of oceans and negative impacts on food chain due to increasing carbon dioxide levels
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7d

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

About the Science

  • Student groups conduct a set of acid-base experiments to see what could happen to the pH of the ocean as carbon dioxide levels rise in the atmosphere.
  • While these experiments do not show how carbon dioxide is dissolved into the ocean, they do demonstrate the relevant chemistry.

About the Pedagogy

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Links to key article (In Hot Water...) and other resources listed in the student and teacher guides do not work as of 11/2016. Some resources may need to be supplemented with others.
  • The "In Hot Water" article referred to in the activity is available here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453177/
  • Both the Student's and Teacher's Guides are well done. They are well organized and provide appropriate background materials for students and guidance for teachers.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-LS2.C2:Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

Science and Engineering Practices: 3

Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

HS-P2.6:Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

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-P6.1:Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.


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