InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Ocean Sustainability > Assessment
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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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 materials are free 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.
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Assessment of Module Goals

Overall Module Assessments

Summative Assessment

As a culminating assignment, students will create a fact sheet that addresses the three main learning goals of this module.

  • Learning goal 1: Describe physical, chemical, and biological aspects of ocean systems, their importance, and how human activities influence these aspects.
  • Learning goal 2: Predict oceanographic changes that will result from modern climate change.
  • Learning goal 3: Discuss long-term strategies to protect ocean resources and preserve the state of the ocean.

To accomplish this, students will demonstrate their integrated understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of ocean systems and describe how human activities influence these aspects. The fact sheets will also predict oceanographic changes that will result from modern climate change and conclude with proposing and supporting long-term strategies designed to protect ocean resources and preserve the state of the ocean.

Use this activity as a summary and reflective exercise upon completing each unit. This activity guides students through the process of creating a fact sheet.

Fact Sheet Instructions, Guide, and Rubric:

Unit Assessments

Note: Rubrics for these unit assessments are presented on the individual unit pages.

Unit 1

Assessments for Unit 1 require students to make linkages between lateral surface ocean currents, vertical seawater movement (upwelling/downwelling; Activity 1.1), and bioproductivity (Activity 1.2). The last in-class exercise has students read a passage about the effect of climate change on surface ocean circulation (Activity 1.3). The Unit 1 homework assignment has students explore how modern climate change affects deep ocean (thermohaline) circulation.

In-class worksheets:

Homework:

Keys:

Unit 2

Unit 2 assessments require that students plot real scientific data and assess whether atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, seawater pCO2 and pH have changed in the past several decades. Pre-lecture homework 1 has students calculate their own carbon footprint so they can evaluate their role in climate change and ocean acidification. Pre-lecture homework 2 has students plot data available on NOAA's Ocean Acidification Data Portal and assess changes that have occurred in the past few decades. Activity 2.1 guides students through the relationship between increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and decreased seawater pH. Activity 2.2 has students reflect on how changes in seawater pH might affect marine organisms.

Pre-lecture homework:

In-class worksheets:

Keys:

Unit 3

Assessments for this unit require students to identify the ecological roles (trophic roles) that organisms play within a reef community (Activity 1) and link negative impacts on specific members (i.e. loss of functional diversity) to reef ecosystem function and resilience. In addition, they will watch a video segment that introduces them to how thermal stress and ocean acidification jeopardize commercially important species, and people who depend on them (Activity 2). The second activity is started as an in-class activity that includes introduction to the topic and a preview of the questions they are expected to be able to answer. They are encouraged to take notes and, after the video has played, to ask questions that can help them to complete this activity as homework for submission for the next class.

Student activity sheets:

Instructor answer key sheets:

  • Activity 1:
    AnswerKey_Unit 3 Activity 1


    This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

  • Activity 2:
    AnswerKey_Unit 3 Activity 2


    This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

Unit 4

In Unit 4, students review a summary of a peer-reviewed article detailing recent scientific studies and observations on the gray whale population and its responses to climate change variables. The summary article reviews the scientific facts and proposed hypotheses related to the changes in gray whale migration, feeding behavior, and reproductive behavior. To prepare for the group work in class, students complete a homework activity that includes reading the article and completing a chart that requires students to consider each scientific example, summarize the factual information, interpret the meaning, and identify the life cycle affected by climate change. The assessment can be used as a post-unit quiz or for ideas for exam questions related to the unit.

Pre Class Homework

Pre Class Homework Teacher Key

Assessment

Assessment Teacher Key

Unit 5

Students will review a collection of scientific data in the form of graphs and charts related to the location and management of marine reserves. In a pre-class homework assignment, students will identify and describe the scientific findings according to these graphs and charts, summarize the findings, and apply this information to proposed or observed benefits to the marine ecosystem as a result of the protected areas of the marine reserves. In class, students will use the findings from the scientific studies and a map to propose the location for a marine reserve in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, in the Pacific Ocean, California.

Pre-Class Homework

Pre-Class Homework Teacher Key

In-Class Activity

In-Class Activity Teacher Key

Unit 6

Students have to review previous lecture content on carbon cycling and biological processes to build their understanding of the biological pump and its premise as a geoengineering tool, and they complete a conceptual chart that links previous physiological, chemical, and biological content (Activity 1). In addition, students will analyze the outcome of an iron fertilization experiment and are challenged to evaluate the success or failure of this experiment. By that they are building their understanding of why there are large uncertainties and risks in implementing geoengineering solutions to address changes to the global climate system (Activity 2).

Student activity sheets:

Instructor answer key sheets:

  • Activity 1:
    AnswerKey_Unit 6_Activity 1


    This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

  • Activity 2:
    AnswerKey_Unit 6_Activity 2


    This file is only accessible to verified educators. If you are a teacher or faculty member and would like access to this file please enter your email address to be verified as belonging to an educator.

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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 »