- Calculate slope with digital sea temperature data and use it to predict future changes in sea temperature.
- Identify the variables that drive thermohaline circulation.
- Generate and evaluate predictions related to thermohaline circulation.
- Predict movement of water in ocean currents using their understanding of thermohaline circulation.
- Relate what they learn about thermohaline circulation to ocean temperature rises and acidification.
- Generate and evaluate predictions related to global warming and climate change’s impacts on oceans.
- Identify causes and consequences of global warming and climate change on the oceans.
- Describe the effects of sea level rise in detail.
- Use the slope of sea level trends to make an evidence-based statement predicting future sea level change.
- Identify technologies used to adapt to sea level rise.
- Describe the effects of ocean acidification in detail.
- Verbally summarize linear trends associated with ocean acidification.
- Calculate slope using graphical representations of ocean acidification.
- Describe the effects of sea temperature rise in detail.
- Project-based learning
- Lab procedures
- Multimedia instruction
21st Century Student Outcomes
- Information, Media, and Technology Skills
- Learning and Innovation Skills
- Life and Career Skills
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Science and Engineering Practices
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
- Developing and using models
- Engaging in argument from evidence
- Using mathematics and computational thinking
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Internet access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, 1 computer per pair, Color printer, Monitor/screen, Projector, Speakers
- Computer lab
Step 3: For the ocean acidification demonstration, you may wish to use bromothymol blue (a commercially available pH indicator) or red cabbage indicator (the water from ½ of a red cabbage head boiled for 1 minute in enough water to cover). If using bromothymol blue, place ~5 drops of this chemical into two cups with 25 mL of water in each. Label one cup "breath" and the other cup "no breath." As a volunteer blows bubbles through a straw into the "breath" container (remind them not to drink this!), the solution will slowly grow more acidic, turning from blue to green and then yellow. If using red cabbage indicator, similarly label one cup with 25mL of indicator "breath" and the other cup with 25mL of indicator "no breath." As a volunteer blows bubbles through a straw into the "breath" container, the solution will turn from bluish purple to pink. Volunteers may pause as needed during their bubble blowing, and the readings for both indicators should be taken after the solution stops changing color for approximately 20 seconds.
You may wish to prepare a digital copy of the data for Miami from the NOAA Sea Level Trends from U.S. Stations map ahead of time. It may be helpful to list the particular steps essential to completing Step 3 of this activity. This way, you can more easily model and walk students through these steps, as well as help scaffold their independent ability to graph sea level change data.
- Large-group instruction
- Large-group learning
- Small-group learning
- Small-group work
greenhouse gas produced by animals during respiration and used by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is also the byproduct of burning fossil fuels.
gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.
number of things of one kind in a given area.
increase in the average temperature of the Earth's air and oceans.
graph illustrating the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
decrease in the ocean's pH levels, caused primarily by increased carbon dioxide. Ocean acidification threatens corals and shellfish.
system in which water moves between the cold depths and warm surface in oceans throughout the world. Also called thermohaline circulation.
measure of a substance's acid or basic composition. Distilled water is neutral, a 7 on the pH scale. Acids are below 7, and bases are above.
base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.
increase in the average reach of the ocean. The current sea level rise is 1.8 millimeters (.07 inch) per year.
slant, either upward or downward, from a straight or flat path.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
ocean conveyor belt system in which water moves between the cold depths and warm surface in oceans throughout the world.
For Further Exploration
- National Geographic: Resource Library: Collection: Climate Change
- National Geographic: Resource Library: Collection: Climate
- National Geographic: Resource Library: Collection: Catastrophic Weather Events
- National Geographic: Resource Library: Collection: Weather
- National Geographic: Mapping Ocean Currents