Ocean Acidification Lesson

Thank you to Breanna Couffer, science teacher in the Huntington Beach Union High School District and graduate of the California State University, Long Beach Single Subject Credential program (SSCP), for sharing this lesson plan.

Please see Breanna’s video overview of this lesson for additional details.

Regarding these resources, she wrote: The learning experiences and activities presented within this lesson over a 4-day time span align not only with NGSS standards relating to human activity and Earth’s ecosystems, but additionally with the respective Science & Engineering Practices (SEPs), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) and Cross-Cutting Concepts (CCCs) in addition to multiple 21st century Literacy Standards. The software for the virtual lab is an all-encompassing tool that satisfies many of the standards, SEPs, DCIs, and CCCs through the use of interactive charts, graphs, and scales along with the experience of “culturing” sea urchin larva. This, combined with the added literacy components of the lab where students get to practice developing scientific arguments, recording detailed data, drawing conclusions, and discovering features of the world that they impact, make for an enriching and engaging lesson. To begin the lesson, I have the students share with each other one thing they know and one thing they wish to know about climate change- a topic we’ve been covering for a few weeks. (P21, DCIs, &CCCs) I then perform a science demo where the students get to witness a small example of CO2 acidification in water using vinegar, baking soda, and bromothymol blue. I invite students to make predications and try to come up with an explanation for the color change, (SEP) and then we move forward to discover the concept of ocean acidification in part 1 of our virtual lab. This virtual lab from the University of Washington has a variety of interactive graphs, scales, and other manipulatives that the students can use to explore chemical reactions, the pH scale, logarithmic functions (pertinent to pH knowledge), sea urchin anatomy, etc. (DCIs, CCCs, SEPs) We do part one as a group and explore all of the questions together so everyone can start Part 2 the next day with a relatively equal foundational knowledge. On day 2 the students perform Part 2 of the virtual lab in groups of 2. During this portion of the lab, the students will be virtually culturing sea urchin larva in solutions of varying pH. We do the prelab together so I can model for the students how to use all of the tools. (SEP) They must be mindful to answer all of the related questions, and record all the data they will need in the future for their Lab Report. Throughout part 2, they are able to view their larvae’s growth patterns and on Day 3 they start the Part 3 of the lab where they take measurements and record data. After they are done with this portion of the lab, the students and I evaluate some sources concerning climate change. (SEP, CCC)We discuss topics such as a source’s credibility and the students are responsible for later using this data to elaborate on future implications for this type of lab in the discussion section of their lab reports. On day 4, we continue this discussion, go over the structure of another lab report, and I assist them in fining more credible resources to use for the writing of their reports. (CCCs, P21)

Please see her lesson plan, Slides, and lab below.