[Coral-List] Fwd: Science activities for young people

Leslie Revel lcrevel at gmail.com
Wed Sep 2 15:38:42 EDT 2015

Hi All, 

I’ve received some great responses for environmental education activities the past few days. 
I’ve compiled them below. 

Thanks again!

Lesson Plans

·             http://oceanlink.island.net/ONews/onews_guides.html <http://oceanlink.island.net/ONews/onews_guides.html>
·             http://www.juliantrubin.com/fairprojects/ecology/marineecology.html <http://www.juliantrubin.com/fairprojects/ecology/marineecology.html>
·             http://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12 <http://www.sea.edu/academics/k-12>

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP)

These free, downloadable modules help students understand the ocean's influence on them and their influence on the ocean. We collaborate with leading marine research and education institutions to develop these lesson plans that require simple materials, minimal preparation and are easy to teach. Students will learn about marine pollution, overfishing, life underwater and much more through these engaging activities. KELP can be downloaded from our site: http://www.sailorsforthesea.org/programs/kelp <http://www.sailorsforthesea.org/programs/kelp>

Below are a few activities you may be interested in.


Under Pollution & Marine Debris:

-Plastic Beach

-Beach Contamination


Under Chemistry of the Sea:

-Marine Osteoporosis

-Acidic Ocean



The Nature Conservancy Lesson Plans

https://natureworkseverywhere.org/#resources <https://natureworkseverywhere.org/#resources>

Ocean Classrooms

http://oceanclassrooms.com <http://oceanclassrooms.com/>
Free Lesson plans- http://oceanclassrooms.com/learning/lesson-plans <http://oceanclassrooms.com/learning/lesson-plans>

Bacterial Testing Kits

https://wardsci.com/store/catalog/product.jsp?catalog_number=7700005 <https://wardsci.com/store/catalog/product.jsp?catalog_number=7700005>


·             plankton tows made out of pantyhose and then examine the contents under a microscope and give students a plankton ID sheet so they can practice identifying the different kinds of plankton.

o   could measure turbidity using a Secchi disk that are very easy to make and could compliment the plankton work nicely

·             fish and squid dissections where students learned the basics of morphology and taxonomy

·             lionfish workshop: learning about anatomy, performing a dissection, and learning how to clean and filet the fish safely.

o   extension of your lionfish dissection you could do some stomach contents analysis. This could include identification of partially digested fish using either fish ID books or a guide you create. I have also been taking fish scales from fish I find and fixing them onto slides. The scales are unique to the species level and you can have students try and match up pictures of labelled scales to ones they find in the stomach looking underneath a microscope. I created this with a criminal investigation theme.

·             each student would pick a different animal that they would see out snorkeling or diving and they would be tasked to observe their specific animal in the field to see how they acted in the wild. After some observations over a few days and some research in our books each student would present their findings to the class. This allowed them to begin to learn about research processes

·             exploring water pollution (specifically oil spills) and learning how to do bacterial and chemical testing of water

·             take 3-4 samples of sand from different beaches and have the students see them under a magnifying glass - it's a great way to introduce the idea of bioerosion (especially if you have a lot of bioclasts) and explain how beaches are formed, what makes them different...

·             collecting coral larvae (planulae), watching them swim around, examining them under dissecting scope, etc. Best species for this would be the shallow-water Siderastrea siderea, or Favia fragum. Do you have running seawater? It is ok if not. Just put a colony in a bucket over night (usually they release more larvae around the full moon), and in the morning you should find a few larvae swimming around on the surface of the water. Depending upon how in depth you want to get, you could even do settlement experiments with them.

·             used light traps to capture fish and crustacea post-larvae colonizing the reef. You can make a couple of light traps with them to put them on the shore at several moments of the lunar cycle. If you don't capture a lot of post-larvae, it doesn't matter, I can send you pictures of fish and Crustacea before and after the metamorphosis. If you capture some, jackpot!! You can use a tank to feed them until the metamorphosis which is awesome! It might be a good and entertaining way to introduce reef species life cycles and reef colonization...

·             recognise and understand adaptation/evolution. We went to the inter-tidal region (but would be just as easy to out on the water) and asked the kids to find and describe as many animals (and plants) as they could. We got the kids to identify major challenges the organisms faced (specifically: predation, competition, sun/temp changes/desiccation and wave action), We then talked about the key features of each (eg - crab has a hard shell, anemones are red, some seaweeds have air pockets to make them float, etc) and matched these features to WHY they had them - eg Red anemone = danger signal = no predation, crab shell  = too hard to eat = less predation, seaweed bubbles = makes it float = better competitor. You could adapt for non-intertidal eg - shapes of corals, lionfish with spines, different shape/colour of fish etc and get the kids to take photos to see the key feature of the animals.

·             an algae lesson, collect and ID in the lab

·             an invert lesson, taxonomy and activities (invert bingo) in the lab and a scavenger hunt snorkel

·             community ecology lesson, lecture and then snorkel to look for interspecific interactions

·             a conservation lesson, lecture on threats to ocean, solutions, social trap games (prisoners dilemma) to learn about threats

·             simple demonstration you can do, although it depends on the depth of your shallowest sponges, is syringe food dye at the base of a sponge. You then can see the sponge take up the dye through its wall and expel it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65vEVmZIiNg <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65vEVmZIiNg>
·             Marine Litter

o   mark an area on the beach and have the students collect all litter items they find. You can then discuss what was found, how that item reached the beach, how many items were there per m², etc...

o   I don't know if plastic pellets (or mermaid tears) are an issue in your area, but here we find them in great amounts in some beaches! You can have maybe 2-3 students measure a 1 m² area on the beach then remove the superficial layer of sand (~5 cm) and place that sediment in a bucket with seawater. Plastic pellets tend to float, so the student can then seive them out. Also a good way to discuss marine pollution.

o   beach cleanup and marine debris lesson, trash timeline http://www.friendsofthedunes.org/programs/education/teacher-resources/activities/supplemental/Trash_Timeline.pdf <http://www.friendsofthedunes.org/programs/education/teacher-resources/activities/supplemental/Trash_Timeline.pdf>
·             Diving specific

o   coral transplant/garden project would be beneficial to students so that they may learn about the coral degradation happening around the world

o   Have the kids look at the different kinds of corals found in the different zones and discuss why they are different and how that affects the rest of the ecology. If you have access to some slates they could do some basic ecological surveys as well. 

Leslie Revel

> Begin forwarded message:
> From: Leslie Revel <lcrevel at gmail.com>
> Subject: Science activities for young people
> Date: August 31, 2015 at 10:04:15 AM AST
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Reply-To: Leslie Revel <lcrevel at gmail.com>
> Hello Coral-listers, 
> I’m looking for some environmental education activities for students ages 12-16 for an after school program that meets once a week. 
> Background: we live on a tiny island in the Caribbean, with access to ocean for snorkeling, and some of kids are scuba certified divers. We have a boat we can use, as well as kayaks. 
> Activities I already have planned include:
> - making plankton tows out of pantyhose to tow behind the boat
> - exploring water pollution (specifically oil spills) and learning how to do bacterial and chemical testing of water 
> - lionfish workshop: learning about anatomy, performing a dissection, and learning how to clean and filet the fish safely. 
> - I was thinking something with aquaculture would be cool, but I don’t have anything planned for that so far 
> Any other ideas/activities would be greatly appreciated! 
> Thank you,
> Leslie Revel

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