InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Ocean Sustainability > Unit 5: Oceans in Protection: Marine Protected Areas
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Unit 5: Oceans in Protection: Marine Protected Areas

Michelle Kinzel (San Diego Mesa College/Southwestern College)
Astrid Schnetzer (North Carolina State University)
Cara Thompson (Santa Monica College)

Summary

Students will review current ocean pressures related to overfishing and human impacts on ocean ecosystems. By examining data collected in relation to the presence of marine reserves, students will explore long-term strategies for protecting ocean resources. Students will review scientific data to assess biomass, biodiversity, and reproductive success of fishery stocks in a marine protected area (MPA) and propose a location for the establishment of a marine reserve in the Channel Islands, California.

Learning Goals

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Define marine protected areas and marine reserves.
  • Cite scientific evidence to make a case that marine reserves support multiple aspects of ocean sustainability.
  • Map ideal locations for the creation of a marine reserve, considering oceanographic, biological, and sociological factors in their decision-making process.

This unit directly supports multiple InTeGrate guiding principles and addresses grand challenges by introducing students to data sets collected by scientists related to effects of marine reserves on biomass, density, reproductive status, and health of selected oceanic species. Students are required to summarize scientific findings and use this evidence to propose the location of an area for marine protection in the form of a marine reserve.

Context for Use

This unit is designed for inclusion in an introductory geoscience course that is 50 minutes long. This unit works best in medium-sized classes of 20 to 50 students. The unit includes a PowerPoint summarizing several scientific studies, and an activity for students to apply the findings of the scientific studies as they select the locations for proposed marine reserves. This activity is designed for small groups for discussion and collaboration. This unit is a part of a larger Ocean Sustainability Module created for the InTeGrate project.

Description and Teaching Materials

Pre-Class Homework

Have students complete the student worksheet before coming to class. In this activity, students will review charts and graphs related to the study of the effect of marine reserves and provide a brief, 1–2 sentence summary of the results of those scientific studies. Please note that the graphs and charts have been sorted into four groups. Students should review all groups and sections as they complete the homework.

Student worksheet: Unit 5 (Acrobat (PDF) 670kB Sep9 16) PDF version, Unit 5 Student Worksheet, Word version (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 477kB Sep9 16) Word version

Teacher Key Homework:

PDF version, Word version

Classwork

PowerPoint Introduction (10 min)

Instructors will introduce the concept of marine protected areas and marine reserves, as well as review several data sets and findings with an introductory PowerPoint: Unit 5 Powerpoint (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 2.7MB Oct30 16)

The PowerPoint has six lecture style slides for introduction, and the remainder are the figures of scientific evidence that also appear in the student homework handout. These larger, duplicate images are provided in case instructors want to print larger versions for the jigsaw group breakouts, and/or show them as overhead slides for discussion or clarification.

Unit 5 Activity with Jigsaw Component and Map Activity (40 min total)

Part 1) Scientific Summary Jigsaw Activity (20 min)

This activity is designed as a jigsaw activity. If you are unfamiliar with this pedagogy, you can get more information here: Jigsaws.

In this jigsaw, the class is divided into several teams, with each team preparing separate but related assignments. Students break into groups of four, with each student being assigned a number 1 through 4. Students join their numbered groups and complete an independent review of several scientific data sets in the form of charts and graphs, and summarize the findings of these studies in a table included with the student worksheet.

When the team members have completed the summary, the class rejoins their original mixed groups, with one member from each team in each group. Each person in the group teaches the rest of the group what he/she knows, and together the group then tackles the following map activity that pulls all of the pieces together to form the full picture—hence the name jigsaw.

Part 2) Map Activity (10 min)

The assessments of the scientific data will be used as the basis for proposing and sketching the location of a marine reserve on a map of the Channel Islands off the Pacific Coast.

Teachers should assess the amount of depth necessary for previewing the data sets. The PowerPoint contains the same graphs and charts as the activity, and some classes will be able to navigate the data sets with little or no introduction. Other groups will benefit from a bit more introduction and review of how graphs and charts display data, and prompts on how to read these types of scientific tools.

Part 3) Discussion and Wrap-Up (10 min)

Students take turns briefly reporting the location and basic justification of their proposed marine reserves.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Assign the student worksheet as homework, and have each student summarize all graphs and figures in the worksheet before coming to class. To reduce printing, consider having students print only the first two pages of the student worksheet, and reference all charts and figures digitally.

This unit requires extensive group work and three organizations into an original home group, then a break-out group and back into the home group. By doing so, students confer with other 'experts' on the same material in the break out groups, and return to the main group to share their part of the puzzle (the jigsaw). Once students self select into a home group, they can decide which student will be #1, #2, etc. (Instructors may consider assigning these group numbers before class, before students complete the homework, and have students prepared to work on one section of the data and materials, #1–4.) If the class is not accustomed to working in groups, clear and complete instructions should be provided at the onset of the activity.

Each break-out group will interpret, analyze and summarize scientific figures. These images are provided in the student homework worksheet, and also in the PowerPoint. These larger images are provided for the instructors to print and distribute. It is suggested that these larger images be made available in each group in color format.

For classes larger than 50 students, instructors can create one group, and have the students assign themselves a subgroup of 1–4, and complete the review of scientific data sets as an individual, then work as a group on the map activity.

Online Resources to Consider Using in Class

For extensions or homework assigned prior to the activity, instructors should consider online, interactive mapping tools to explore marine reserves. These websites can be suggested, or assigned to students as a pre- or post-activity to complement the in-class assignment.

Assessment

The assessment for this unit has been embedded into the homework and class activity worksheet.

References and Resources

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »