Dead Zone - For Educators
This dead zone internet resource collection includes activities, assignments, and reading materials created specifically for educators.
Fish populations such as these are threatened in the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. Photo is courtesy of UK Independent Environment and can be found on the Earth Hope Action Network web site.
- History of the Gulf of Mexico "Dead" Zone, by Martin B. Farley, University of North Carolina at Pembroke. This student activity engages students in analysis of the last 1000 years of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxia zone (informally "dead" zone) by using relative abundance of low-oxygen tolerant benthic foraminifera. In this example of environmental micropaleontology, students evaluate whether the "dead" zone has existed in its current form for many centuries or has become more intense in the time of increased anthropogenic input of organics (i.e., fertilizer).
- Dead Zones: Why Are the Waters Dying?: This Educator resources website provides a highschool-undergraduate level activity regarding dead zones. This resource was originally accessed through the BioSciEd Net (BEN) digital resources collection, which is the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathway for biological sciences education. For more teaching resources, please visit BEN to use their searchable database.BEN is free to use, but requires registration.
- Can we revive Lake Erie's "Dead Zone?". This Ohio Sea Grant website features a WebQuest-like activity that explores the development of a dead zone, an oxygen-deprived area where there is no life, in Lake Erie. The activity aims to teach students about the processes that contribute to the development of the dead zones in Lake Erie and examine a decision making process to determine how to treat or cure the dead zone. Links to a teacher page (with a lesson plan and resources) and student page (with references and instructions) are included. (more info)
- Harmful Algal Blooms. This website contains lesson plans and activities to teach students about harmful algal blooms (HABs). The lesson is developed for grades 9-12, but may be adapted to middle school or undergraduate levels. The lesson plan is available in PDF format, and may be viewed and printed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. (more info)
- Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. This Ohio State University power point presentation offers a step-by-step explanation for the Mississippi River delta oxygen-poor zone. The presentation identifies and explores key vocabulary, upstream factors, and downstream effects of the Mississippi River dead zone. The site also features several drainage basin and dead zone maps, as well as nitrogen influx charts. (more info)
- On Again, Off Again - The Dead Zone . This Louisiana Sea Grant College Program site offers a collection of websites regarding Gulf of Mexico hypoxia. This collection includes general information, classroom activities, and data collected from hypoxia projects. (more info)
- The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. This Science Museum of Minnesota interactive site is designed to teach elementary school kids about the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. It addresses the questions what is a dead zone, what causes it, and who does it affect. The site features colorful graphics, videos, animations, and activities. These features include a video showing how the dead zone is mapped, animation detailing how a dead zone forms, and a personal account of how the dead zone affects fishermen. (more info)
- Water Sheds and Water Quality. This Illinois DNR pdf file contains a collection of activities to teach students in grades 5-9 about watersheds and pollution. Activities include "What is a Watershed?," "Which Watershed are you in?" and general information about pollution and the Gulf of Mexico. ( This site may be offline. )
- What is Responsible for Smaller Shrimp Catches?. This National Science Foundation sponsored interactive website gives a step-by-step explanation of the dead zone, including what it is and what causes it. It offers pictures, interactive animations, charts, and figures to educate students about the dead zone and offers supplementary questions after each step to enhance understanding of the material. (more info)
Other Dead Zone Collections
General Collection: Resources such as news articles, web sites, and reference pages provide a comprehensive array of information about dead zones- in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide!
Advanced: Compiled for professionals and advanced learners, this dead zone collection includes resources such as journal articles, academic reviews, and surveys.
Back to The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone main page.
For additional resources about dead zones, search the Microbial Life collection.