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Grades 9-12   Unit 2
Ocean Currents and the Open Ocean

Table of Contents

Conceptual Scheme
Marine Aquaria
Successful Fieldtripping

1. Creating Currents
Demonstrations model how waters of differing temperature and salinity move and layer and how wind and the earth’s rotation drive currents.

2. Mapping Ocean Currents
Students research and map ocean currents.

3. Ocean Currents
The Ocean Currents reading describes the causes and patterns of global currents and the importance of upwelling and El Nino.

4. The Circulation of the Oceans
A journal article and word puzzle summarize research on ocean currents.

5. Drifting with the R/V Wecoma
Students plot real data from drift bottle recoveries to map currents off the Oregon coast.

6. Observations of Living Plankton
Students observe plankton, the usually microscopic organisms carried and nourished by ocean currents.

7. Out of Sight
This reading and puzzle explore the importance of plankton in marine food webs.

8. Satellite Images
Students predict where phytoplankton populations will be highest in the oceans and then interpret color images made from actual satellite data.

9. “The Nature of Oceanic Life” – Three Level Guide
This journal article describes the variety of marine habitats and how they are connected by currents and plankton.

10. Animals of the Open Ocean: Jellyfish and Nematocyst Firing
Students test materials to find which trigger the discharge of stinging cells.

11. Sharks!
Choose from a menu of activities exploring sharks and their adaptations.

12. A Shark Reading
This reading summarizes external features of sharks, their feeding adaptations, their senses and issues surrounding shark fisheries.

13. A Shark Study
In A Shark Study students dissect a shark and examine its external and internal anatomy.

14. Fish
Students identify the functions of structures in a basic fish form and then identify how variations on that body.

15. How Old Are You?
Students age fish by counting growth rings on scales. The activity explores how this type of data is used to evaluate the health of a fish population.

16. Marine Mammals
This reading describes the major groups of marine mammals and their adaptations.

17. Marine Mammal Adaptations: Blubber Mitt Lab & Staying Warm
Students test the insulating properties of a model of blubber.

18. Marine Mammal Adaptations: Diving Buoyancy Lab
Students combine materials to create a neutrally buoyant model of a whale.

19. Marine Mammal Adaptations: Bradycardia – The Diving Response
Students experience and measure their own diving response as they immerse their faces in cold water.

20. Marine Mammal Adaptations: Echolocation
Slinky wave puzzles are used to determine the distance between a student and an object.

21. Exploiting Marine Mammals
Students examine case histories of human use and management of marine mammal populations.

22. The Scrimshander
Students practice the folk art of bone carving used by early whalers on board ship to pass the time.

23. Whale Research: The Challenges of Counting and Monitoring a Population of Whales
Students play the role of orca whales surfacing from time to time while student whale researchers try to get an accurate count of the whale population.

24. Whale Research: Orca Photo I.D.
Students identify whales by matching photos of orcas with drawings from an orca identification catalogue.

25. Earth as a Greenhouse
Students take a last look at the oceans from a global perspective by studying global climate change. They measure temperature changes in model greenhouses and examine how the earth’s atmosphere creates a similar greenhouse effect.

26. What Comes In? What Goes Out? – An Investigation of Photosynthesis and Respiration in Water Plants
This discrepant event lab challenges students to explain how gas exchanges by water plants cause color changes in a pH indicator.

27. Looking For Carbon Dioxide
Students first measure the carbon dioxide various CO2 sources produce and then graph real data tracking CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

28. Looking For Another Greenhouse Gas: Methane
Students learn about and rank sources of methane.

29. Global Climate Change: What Do the Scientists Say?
This reading explores historical and prehistorical climate data and examines models of future climate change.

30. World Conference on Global Warming
Students assume roles of various interest groups and make presentations at a simulated “World Conference on Global Warming”.

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