Pollution or fishing industry research project

Katryn Wiese
City College of San Francisco, Earth Sciences
Author Profile


Students select a particular type of pollution or fishing/commercial industry in the ocean (plastics, radioactive waste, offshore oil, bluefin tuna, shrimp farming). Describe its story – how humans are impacting global oceanic systems and how the ocean is responding.

Learning Goals

Students should be able to conduct library and/or internet research on a particular topic, including demonstrating an understanding of how to reference/cite work of others. They should be able to express their research of the topic through a combination of traditional and more creative methods. Most importantly, they should be able to find a way to combine the course content and a special talent or interest outside the class (cooking, writing, painting, etc.) -- finding relevancy and intersections.

Context for Use

Intro-level Oceanography class -- 2YC -- no prerequisites. Lecture class (lab is a separate class).
This assignment will be used to make up a quiz score.

Description and Teaching Materials

Assignment structure:
- Students will spend some time researching a topical choice (like radioactive waste, plastics, or the tuna industry) through journals, papers, or online sources. (Students will need to keep track of sources and record on cover page – see attachment).
- Students will create a short creative project that communicates what they've learned. Examples: children's story book, art piece, poem, short story, written science summary, blog piece, PPT slides, game, etc. (Review online samples of previous assignments.)
- The final product to be handed in needs to be in a format that can be accessed online – so it needs to be an electronic file or printed paper that can be scanned or photographed. Acceptable electronic files include: .pdf, .jpg, .doc, .ppt, .html. (Depending on the project, students might need to take photographs and then describe what they did.) Students must be sure that any images are properly cited.
- The length of the project depends on the student, but the guideline is that it should take the instructor no more than 5 minutes to review/read it.
- I prefer that students turn in projects in electronic form (on a CD or thumbdrive that I will return to them). They can also e-mail it to me, if it's under 5 Mb.
- Each assignment has to be submitted with a cover page and grading rubric (see attached).
- REQUIREMENT – the submission must be student's OWN work, whether in words or images.

- Assignment should drill down into the details and specifics of the topic, rather than a general overview and cover material not presented in the textbook or class (extra!)

Pollution/Fishing Industry Assignment (Acrobat (PDF) 111kB Jul10 12)

Teaching Notes and Tips

I use examples online to motivate students to keep their bar high. I make this homework optional (to replace a quiz score), so I don't have to wade through bad contributions. As a whole, students love this activity, and those that do it have a real sense of pride in what they've developed.


See attached rubric (in attached document).

References and Resources