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Ocean Studies, Ocean Issues - Grade 8

Table of Contents


Conceptual Scheme

Marine Aquaria


Successful Fieldtripping

Unit 1: Where Did All The Water Come From?

   1. How The Earth Got Its Ocean
Students model the early earth, measuring rising temperatures and observing the layering of "crust, mantle and core".

   2. Water, Water Everywhere
Processes active at the time of ocean formation are modeled in a mini-water cycle.

   3. A Pinch of Salt
The origin of the sea's salt is explored by evaporating rain, river and sea water.

Unit 2: The Changing Shape of the Ocean Basins: The Theory of Plate Tectonics

   1. Reunite Pangaea
Using a cut-up world map, student teams analyze the current evidence for plate tectonics.

   2. The Plot Thickens - Paleomagnetism
Students plot the patterns of magnetic anomalies found in the ocean floor.

   3. The Force
Convection currents are observed in a heated beaker of water.

   4. Slippin' and Slidin' - Plate Tectonics
A student reading with embedded questions summarizes the evidence supporting the theory of crustal plate movement.

   5. Packages: 3-D Earth Model
Students create a paper model of a crustal plate cross-section.

   6. Hydrothermal Vent Formation
The creation of hydrothermal vent chimneys are simulated by precipitation of salt from a saturated solution.

   7. Chemicals or Light - Chemosynthesis/Photosynthesis
Simple chemical equations are used to compare photosynthesis and chemosynthesis as primary production processes.

   8. The Mating Game
Students play a hydrothermal vent game based on the TV show "Dating Game".

Unit 3: The Changing Shape of the Ocean Basins: Ocean Floor Topography

   1. Deep Sounds
An introductory reading and vocabulary puzzle emphasize the similarity between ocean floor topography and land topography.

   2. 'Sounds Good to Me'
Students transform echo sounding data into a bottom profile.

   3. Retracing the Steps of Columbus
Using echo sounding data, students construct a bottom profile of the Atlantic ocean basin.

   4. The World's Smallest Ocean
Students build an ocean floor model in a shoebox, then "sound" the depths for seamounts, etc.

   5. Mountain Making - Topographic Maps
Using a "mountain" of modeling clay, students cut off horizontal layers to create a topographic map of the mountain.

   6. Contours
Students create a bathymetric map, then use this map to create a 3-D model of the area shown on the map.

Unit 4: Ocean Waters in Motion: Currents

   1. Currents: Moving Water
A student reading with embedded questions introduces the major factors that cause large-scale ocean currents.

   2. Stormy Weather: Wind-Driven Currents
Students calculate the impact of wind driven currents on gray whale migration.

   3. Moving Right Along: Density Currents
A model of the interaction of water of different densities is set up and observed by students.

   4. Hot Air: Wind-Driven Currents
Using a glass dish, water and food coloring, students observe the action of "wind" in current formation.

   5. The Hydrometer
Students construct and calibrate a hydrometer, then use it to determine the salinity of an unknown salt solution.

   6. Heating It Up
Using their hydrometers, students measure and observe changes in the density of water as it is heated.

   7. Ol' Sea Salt
Students measure the densities of solutions of varying salinities and relate their results to salinities in the ocean.

   8. El Nino: A Current Case Study
A student reading with embedded questions explores the causes and effects of the changes in current patterns called El Nino.

   9. Where the Food Is: Plankton
As they examine its importance in the ocean food web, students group and categorize common plankton.

   10. View From Space
Using actual satellite images, students interpret and analyze remotely gathered data.

   11. String for Your Supper
Student teams create a mobile representing an ocean food web.

Unit 5: Ocean Waters in Motion: Currents Affect Global Weather

   1. Greenhouse Earth
Illustrations and questions teach students the role energy from the sun plays in our atmosphere and climate.

   2. Investigating What Goes In? What Goes Out?
Students measure temperature changes in model greenhouses and relate their models to the Earth's atmosphere.

   3. In Search of Carbon Dioxide
Students measure carbon dioxide from various sources, then graph real data tracking CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

   4. What Are the Scientists Saying About Global Climate Change?
This reading explores historical and prehistorical climate data and examines models of future climate change.

   5. World Summit on Global Warming
Students conduct an imaginary World Summit to discuss the greenhouse effect.

   6. Ozone Models
Construction of simple molecular models enables students to reproduce the steps in the breakdown of ozone.

   7. Ozone Game
Ozone destruction is dramatized as students role-play the parts of oxygen and chlorine atoms in the atmosphere.

   8. Feels Like Raindrops: Weather
Students explore the influence of the oceans on weather as they make a variety of meteorological instruments.

Unit 6: Issues of the Ocean Basins: Fishing Resources

   1. A Case Study in the Salmon Dilemma: Sockeye Life History
Through reading and experimentation, students begin thinking about factors that affect salmon populations; the first of three activities focusing on salmon life cycles.

   2. A Case Study in the Salmon Dilemma: To Be or Not to Be?
A mathematically oriented board game provides insight into variables affecting salmon populations.

   3. A Case Study in the Salmon Dilemma: Who Pays the Price?
Students make policy decisions affecting salmon populations.

   4. Fish: What's on the Outside?
Students examine the external characteristics of market fish to learn about fish "lifestyle".

   5. Fish: Modeling the Inside
By creating models of a bony fish, students explore the differences and similarities among fish types.

   6. Why Do Fish Go To School?
Blindfolded students group themselves in a "fish" school to explore which senses might be used for schooling.

Unit 7: Issues of the Ocean Basins: Pollution of Our Waters

   1. What's The Point (or Nonpoint)?
Students play a guessing game that introduces the concepts of Point and Non-Point Pollution.

   2. Do I Live in a Watershed?
Using topographic maps, students make a model of their local watershed, then they explore its attributes.

   3. Wetlands Metaphors
Students use metaphors to describe characteristics and functions of a wetland.

   4. Marsh Models
Using simple materials, students build a model of a marsh, then watch it function in a "rainstorm".

   5. How Thirsty is the Ground?
Percolation rates for various soil types are measured by groups of students first in the lab, then in the field.

   6. Wetland Controversy
A city council meeting is role-played in which students make decisions about wetland development.

   7. The Bountiful Bay Game: Use vs. Abuse
Students play an interactive game which introduces water quality issues facing estuaries.

Unit 8: Issues of the Ocean Basins: Offshore Oil Production

   1. Who Needs Energy? and It Came from Beneath the Sea
A personal energy profile is created by each student to focus attention on the role of oil energy in his or her life.

   2. Trouble in the Sound: The Exxon Valdez Spill
Students work in groups to share what they know about oil spills, then read a background article about an Alaskan spill.

   3. Black Tide
Using a variety of materials, students clean up small "spills" of oil in a pie pan ocean.

   4. Point/Counterpoint
Students debate topics related to oil production and offshore drilling.

Unit 9: Issues of the Ocean Basins: Mining the Ocean Floor

   1. Mining the Ocean Floor
A reading with embedded questions introduces students to ocean mining.

   2. To the Bottom
Students investigate the affect of particle size on the rate of sedimentation.

Unit 10: Issues of the Ocean Basins: Marine Sanctuaries

   1. Introduced Species: The Asian Clam in San Francisco Bay
In this introduction to clam anatomy and "lifestyle", students examine the parts of clams from a fish market.

   2. Asian Clam: Part II
Given some of the characteristics of clam "lifestyle", students hypothesize on the impact of Asian Clams.

   3. Marine Sanctuaries: An Introduction
Following background and history of the Marine Sanctuary Program, students plot the location of present sanctuaries.

   4. Sanctuary Rummy
In this card game, students identify various facts about U.S. marine sanctuaries.

   5. Which Will Be the Next Marine Sanctuary?
Students become involved in the decision-making process used to select new sanctuaries from proposed sites.

Unit 11: Issues of the Ocean Basins: Question: Can the Ocean Feed the World and Absorb our Wastes?

   1. Can the Ocean Feed the World and Absorb our Wastes?
Student groups review "important messages" about ocean environments, then decide on ways to those present messages.

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