Oceanography Data in the Classroom: Using an OOI Ocean Data Lab to Explore Chlorophyll-a Trends and Increase Data Literacy
This activity will be fully immersive and hands-on. I will give an overview of the lesson plan and student worksheet. Participants will have the opportunity to work through the worksheet themselves and explore the online data widget. We will discuss common areas where students are confused and/or need additional guidance, possible answers to the worksheet questions, and how to adapt this lesson to participants' classrooms. The goal of this activity is for participants to finish with a fully prepared lesson ready to implement in their classrooms.
This activity will demonstrate a lesson created to increase student understanding of primary production trends and driving forces in coastal areas. This lesson was designed using the Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) Ocean Data Lab "Chlorophyll-a in Temperate Zones of the Ocean" – an online data widget that allows students to interact with and explore real oceanography data. This lesson walks students through data exploration, identifying trends, and creating hypotheses, with an additional focus on increasing data literacy. By using a real-life data set student practice interpreting authentic data, which includes unidealized data trends and outliers. Additionally, to increase student interest and understanding in how oceanography data is used to make real-world decisions, this lesson demonstrates how primary productivity data can be used to make decisions about fisheries management, including salmon hatchery production.
This presentation will provide an overview of the lesson plan, including the associated student handout, potential answers, and areas where students may have questions and/or need clarification. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the data widget themselves, as well as work through the worksheet and discuss possible student answers. Additionally, this activity will include a discussion on how to adapt this lesson to different teaching modalities.
This lesson was designed for a 100-level introductory oceanography class. It is helpful if students have some background in primary production, although I will cover optional supplemental materials if students lack this background. This lesson takes about 1 hour, although it could be extended to 1.5 hours if supplemental materials (included in the lesson plan) are used. I have used this lesson for classes up to 20 students in a synchronous online format. This presentation will also cover how to adapt this lesson to different teaching modalities, including online asynchronous.
Why It Works
This lesson uses real oceanography data collected by three of OOI's data arrays, packaged in a data widget that allows hands-on data exploration. Using real data allows students to practice their data interpretation skills, including evaluating trends, deciding how to deal with outliers, and discussing how to address missing data.
Additionally, this lesson was designed to connect primary productivity with real-world applications, including fisheries productivity and salmon hatchery management. Enforcing clear connections between oceanography concepts and fisheries management increases student interest and buy-in, as well as demonstrates the importance of oceanography and data literacy in a broader context.