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Oceans for Life—Grades 9-12
(NOTE: Lesson plans provided in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Element Objectives Recommended Lessons
Oceanography studies the relationships between life, habitats, and environments by mapping information about them into a spatial context.
• Use of spatial representations and technology (e.g., apply mapping and GIS/GPS skills to observe and analyze ocean relationships, including distribution of ocean organisms, to map local watersheds, to understand distribution of biomass, changes in shorelines, animal migration)
• Use of other ocean measurement technology (e.g., underwater acoustics to measure global and physical parameters)
• Location and patterns of ocean characteristics (e.g., zonation, currents, eddies, sediment transport, physiochemical characteristics, oxygen minimum layer, calcium carbonate)
• World patterns of extreme ocean events (e.g., El Nino, hurricane intensity)
Planning an Expedition (see page 47)
Finding the Way (NOAA PDF)
History's Thermometers (NOAA PDF)
Oceans have physical and biotic characteristics which are used to define habitats and regions.
• Interdependence of land areas and the ocean (e.g., erosion, watershed issues, anadromous fish: salmon, trout)
• Physical and human processes that shape the ocean and coasts (e.g., erosion, damming rivers, barrier islands, construction of ports and marinas)
• Political and historical characteristics of ocean regions (e.g., pirates, Japanese Yellow Sea/Korea, whaling, EEZs, fishing rights, Law of the Sea)
• Analysis of regional ocean issues and problems (e.g., overfishing—Grand Banks/cod, Klamath/salmon; introduced/exotic species; pollution)
Special Places in the Sea (see page 27)
Planning Your SSE Mission (see page 68)
Physical processes drive global systems in which oceans are fundamental.
• Plate tectonics (e.g., plate names, plate boundary interactions, and evidence for the theory of plate tectonics; Earth layers; Wilson Cycle)
• Processes of ocean physical systems (e.g., Coriolis effect, thermohaline circulation, chemical cycles, carbon sequestration, ocean physics)
• Ecosystem processes (e.g., biodiversity / productivity in salt marshes, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, hydrothermal vents; nutrient flows, reproduction, dissipation of energy in food chains)
• Processes of extreme ocean events (e.g., El Niño, hurricane intensity)
• El Niño and impact on organisms (e.g., fisheries collapse, unusual migrating species, effects of weather changes on all organisms, including humans)
Thar She Blows! (NOAA PDF)
Current Events (NOAA PDF)
Lights in the Deep (NOAA PDF)
Ocean Microstructure (NOAA PDF)
Candy Chemosynthesis (NOAA PDF)
Oceans and human systems are interconnected politically, economically, and culturally.
• The role of oceans in economic development (e.g. tourism, oil and mineral resources)
• Cooperation and conflict in the division and control of oceans and their resources (e.g. Antarctica, EEZ, marine protected areas)
• Role of oceans in human demographics (e.g. demographic shift to coastal cities and increase in coastal commerce)
• Global economic interdependence (e.g., regional ocean resources, trade, transportation)
Oceans are modified by human activities, largely as a consequence of the ways in which human societies value and use Earth's natural resources, and human activities are also influenced by the oceans' physical features and processes.
• Human influences on a global scale (e.g., global warming, "tragedy of the commons", population growth)
• Ocean influences on a global scale (e.g., climate, ocean health / human health relationships, exotic species)
• Ocean policy and regulations (e.g., fisheries, whaling rights, ocean dumping, oil drilling, coastal development)
• Effects of technology (e.g., research and exploration, commercial operations)
• Changes in world ocean resources and distribution over time (e.g., species biodiversity, endangered species)
Knowledge of oceanography enables people to develop an understanding of the relationships between life, habitats, and environments over space and time—that is, of Earth as it was, is, and might be.
• Influence of ocean features in past events (e.g., volcanic island formation, continental drift, Siberian land bridge)
• Influence of oceanography in understanding future uses of the sea (e.g., modeling)
• Using oceanography to integrate multiple disciplines (e.g., hydrothermal vents, Darwin)
• Ocean themes in literature, music, and art (e.g. science competitions, compositions, essays, drama)

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