InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Ocean Sustainability > Instructor Materials: Module Overview
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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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Instructor Materials: Overview of the Ocean Sustainability Module

Module Goal: Our goal is for students to gain an appreciation of the complexity of ocean processes and the need to study them, and to make students aware of our dependence on and responsibility for the largest habitat on Earth.

Module Summative Assessment: Students will demonstrate their integrated understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of ocean systems and describe how human activities influence these aspects by creating a fact sheet. The fact sheets also will 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. Read more about the summative assessment.

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. At the top of each page, you can click on the NGSS logo to see the specific connections. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more about the process of alignment and how to use InTeGrate materials to implement the NGSS.

NGSS in this Module

This module introduces students to the complexity of ocean processes through lessons on ocean chemistry, ecology, marine protection, human impacts and geoengineering. Students work with authentic data, read and evaluate scientific information, design marine protected areas and analyze geoengineering solutions. Cause and effect relationships, along with potential solutions are an integral part of this module.

Unit 1 Ocean Circulation and Health

In this unit, students will be introduced to the basic facts related to the physical and biological aspects of our ocean (e.g. geography of oceans, temperature, salinity, pH, habitats, and ecosystems). Topics will cover ocean functionality including climate moderation via circulation, carbon sinks and photosynthesis as an oxygen source.

Unit 2 Ocean Conditions: Ancient to Modern

In this unit, students will learn about ocean pH buffering systems. Students will examine pH data and determine magnitudes of global changes in ocean chemistry. Students will discuss the effects of pH changes on the shell/skeleton resiliency and calcification rate of carbonate-secreting organisms.

Unit 3 Oceans As Habitat: Sustaining Life in the Ocean

In this unit, students learn about the functional role organisms have in communities, and what factors drive ecosystem diversity, function, and resilience. Students will define ecological roles of organisms within the ecosystem, examine behavioral strategies related to survival rates, and characterize food web dynamics.

Unit 4 Oceans In Peril: Pressures on Ocean Ecosystems

In this unit, students will examine the effects climate changes have on the "ecosystem sentinels" of the Pacific Ocean—gray whales. Students will consider recent scientific studies and examine maps displaying migratory behavior, hypothesizing how changes can be caused by oceanographic features such as sea surface temperature and primary production.

Unit 5 Oceans in Protection: Marine Protected Areas

In this unit, students will review current oceans pressures related to overfishing, pollution, and human impacts on ocean ecosystems. Students will review scientific data to assess biomass, biodiversity, and migration patterns of fish in a Marine Protected Area and propose a location for the establishment of a marine reserve in the Channel Islands.

Unit 6 Ocean Sustainability and Geoengineering

In this capstone unit, students apply the knowledge and content from Units 1–5 to investigate ways to contribute to the protection and preservation of the oceans. Students will examine their own lifestyle choices and relate them to effects from small to large within oceanic systems.

Making the Module Work

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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 »