In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text on the carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange in the Southern Ocean. The extent to which massive Southern Ocean currents, other biotic and abiotic factors, and ocean color impacts global warming is currently not known. Scientists will use a modified plane set up as a laboratory to gather this data. The lesson is designed to support reading in the content area and includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11, 12
Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: global warming, carbon cycle, carbon sink, biotic factors, abiotic factors, atmosphere, greenhouse gases, climate change, Antarctic Circumpolar Current, text complexity, informational text
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Examine the text to identify the factors, both abiotic and biotic, that increase the amount of carbon dioxide that the Southern Ocean can absorb.
- Describe how carbon dioxide and oxygen are linked together in a cycle.
- Explain how the Antarctic Circumpolar Current has an impact on climate change.
- Describe how temperature affects the amount of carbon dioxide and water stored in the ocean.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use vocabulary strategies to determine the meanings of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
In regards to science:
- Students should clearly understand the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is caused by the atmosphere that is around the Earth. Our atmosphere is made of mostly nitrogen gas, but also contains oxygen and carbon dioxide, as well as small amounts of other gases. When solar radiation from the Sun reaches the Earth, some of it is absorbed by the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Much of this radiation is absorbed by the surface of the Earth. From this absorbed radiation, some of it is re-emitted back out into space. The greenhouse effect is necessary for our survival, however, if you increase the thickness or density of the atmosphere, you will change how much heat can be re-emitted, therefore over-heating the planet.
- This provides a good video from the Environmental Protection Agency to review the greenhouse effect.
- Students should understand and be able to describe the carbon dioxide and oxygen cycle, as well as the effect of emission pollution on those cycles. This link is a video titled "The Carbon and Oxygen Cycles" (1:28, uploaded by YouTube user nexx hulk) discussing the basics of the oxygen and carbon cycle. Be sure to review the carbon cycle with students. Discuss sinks and sources of carbon. Students should realize up front that the ocean is by far the biggest sink of carbon on the planet.
- Students should be familiar with abiotic and biotic factors. Biotic factors are living organisms within an ecosystem. Abiotic factors are non-living things in an ecosystem.
- Students should also realize that when a fossil fuel is formed, it takes a lot of carbon from the atmosphere, but this process takes millions of years. When we burn fossil fuels we dump that same carbon back into the atmosphere within a few centuries.
- Students should have a basic understanding of the Global Conveyor Belt. They should understand that ice formation increases the salinity of the ocean water, therefore increasing the density. Cold water also has a higher density. As this cold salt water sinks to the bottom, new surface water is brought in and the process continues, creating the Global Conveyor Belt.
- This link from the National Ocean Service give a great summary of the Global Conveyor Belt; it also includes visuals for support.
- This video titled "Antarctica: Exploring Oceans" (3:39, uploaded by National Geographic) will give the students a visual of the animals that live in the Southern Ocean. It is very common for students to be confused on which pole they find penguins and which one they find polar bears.
- This video titled "Circulation of the Southern Ocean" (3:52, uploaded by NCINationalFacility) can be used to help students understand the circulation of the Southern Ocean.
- Students should be able to explain how new investigations and data add to the body of science knowledge.
In regards to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text. For this lesson, prior experience in using context clues to determine the meaning of words in a text would be beneficial. In addition, students should have some dictionary skills that will enable them to look up words with multiple meanings and determine the most appropriate meaning based on how a word is used in a text.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion or concluding statement that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next. Teachers might wish to provide students with a sheet of transitions to help them. This site provides transitions and examples teachers might provide to students.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Howdotheabiotic and biotic factors drive the carbon dioxide/oxygen cycle in the Southern Ocean?
Students will most likely be able to identify the biotic factor as phytoplankton and the abiotic factors as the gases and the ocean waters. They should be able to state how phytoplankton and the ocean exchange gases. Phytoplankton and other photoautotrophs use carbon dioxide, and therefore are considered a sink. They also release oxygen. Animals living in the Southern Ocean will add carbon dioxide and therefore are considered a source. They also use oxygen. Abiotic factors that drive the carbon/oxygen cycle would be sunlight, temperature and circumpolar currents. Sunlight triggers the growth of phytoplankton and other autotrophs, thereby increasing their activity. Water temperature determines how much oxygen and carbon dioxide can be dissolved in the Southern Ocean. The circumpolar current creates a circulation that brings deep water to the surface so gas exchange can occur. Burning of fossil fuels increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Explain the significance of carbon being trapped in the ocean for a long time.
Students should be able to infer that if large amounts of carbon are trapped in the ocean, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced, therefore slowing climate change. If the ocean cannot trap enough, then it cannot help slow global warming.
- How does the Antarctic Circumpolar Current increase gas exchange with the atmosphere?
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current increases gas exchange by bringing deep water to the surface, where it can exchange gases with the atmosphere. Then when the water is returned down to the deep parts of the ocean, it will take new gases with it.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson with this titled "Home Frontier." This video integrates climate change and how NASA is taking measurements to predict changes.
- Next, pose the general question to the class: "What do you know about how the greenhouse effect, ocean currents, and the carbon dioxide/oxygen cycle interact?"
- To assess understanding, have students conduct a think-pair-share. Group the students into 6 groups. Assign two groups the greenhouse effect, two groups ocean currents and two groups the carbon dioxide/oxygen connection. Give the students 10 minutes to discuss their topics and possibly research them. Then have the students share with another group and rotate, or just make it one big class discussion. Encourage the students to use illustrations to assist in their explanations.
- Students are likely to answer: Gases present in the atmosphere absorb incoming insolation (incoming solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface) and re-radiate it as infrared radiation, which heats the atmosphere and surface. The carbon dioxide/oxygen cycle works with it because when carbon dioxide is added by organisms and emissions it increases heating in the greenhouse effect. Emissions increase the heating because they make the layer thicker and increase density, which stops or reduces the amount of energy that escapes our atmosphere. In reference to ocean currents, the detail of the answers may vary. Students should be able to discuss the concept that currents circulate water globally, which can change water temperatures, which in turn can change the amount of gases dissolved in the ocean.
- This NASA video titled "The Greenhouse Effect" can be used to review the greenhouse effect with students. This video will discuss the importance of an atmosphere and how it can influence the temperature of the Earth. Students will learn how the Earth’s surface emits longwave radiation and that most of it is absorbed by clouds and greenhouse gases. This absorption can increase temperatures on Earth. The two most common greenhouse gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide.
Check for understanding:
- Questions that could be asked after viewing to check for understanding:
- What are the benefits of having an atmosphere?
Having an atmosphere allows the planet to be warm enough for life as we know it to exist.
- Why does an increase in carbon dioxide increase the surface temperature of the Earth?
An increase in carbon dioxide causes more longwave radiation to be re-emitted back to the surface of the Earth.
- Visual activity: In addition to the above questions, the teacher could have students work in pairs to draw a quick diagram of the greenhouse effect. The teacher can check to see if students have included all the important parts. Alternatively, the teacher could display one large drawing of the Earth on the board or on poster paper and have each group come up and add to the diagram.
- This NASA video shows how carbon dioxide moves through the atmosphere. Also discussed in the video is the cause of increased carbon dioxide gas. Sinks in the northern hemisphere are discussed due to spring and summer plant growth, causing carbon dioxide to decrease during that season. Carbon monoxide is also discussed as a source, due to wildfires in Africa, South America and Australia. One of the best parts in this video shows that the emissions don't stay in a local area, they are moved by the wind across the globe.
Check for understanding after viewing:
- Ask the students what were some causes of the cycling or changes of the amount of carbon dioxide throughout the year.
Students should be able to reference sources and sinks and their effects on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Spring and early summer use a lot of carbon dioxide due to increased plant and phytoplankton growth. Late summer increases carbon due to fires.
- Tell the students that today they are going to read an article that will inform them about how scientists are trying to get a more detailed understanding of how the Earth counteracts or supports global warming by studying the Southern Ocean of Antarctica. The article is about the Southern Ocean's exchange of gases and will address the investigations and data scientists hope to gather.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- 1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Flying Lab to Investigate Southern Ocean's Appetite for Carbon." For class discussions that will follow, it might be helpful to have students number each paragraph within each section. They can also number each of the four sections.
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Flying Lab to Investigate Southern Ocean's Appetite for Carbon
- Subtitle: ORCAS field campaign will help scientists predict future climate
- Headings: Tracking Carbon; Carbon, oxygen and phytoplankton; A window into the deep ocean
- Caption: Located under the opening photograph
- Teachers may want to provide additional support by directly telling or showing students before they read the article:
- ORCAS: Stands for the O2/N2 Ratio and Carbon Dioxide Airborne Southern Ocean Study
- Southern Ocean: So students can visualize this as they are reading, it would be good to show them a .
- Phytoplankton: Plankton that consists of microscopic plants, protists or other types of autotrophs like cyanobacteria.
- Circumpolar Current: The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is an ocean current that flows clockwise from west to east around Antarctica.
- Logistical: Management of the flow of things (time, goods, or information) in order to meet the needs of the scientists, and to make sure no laws are broken and that they have the proper clearance to gather their data.
- Austral Spring: Time of year in the Antarctic which is the spring season; this is generally in September and a time when the greatest amount of ozone in lost.
- Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in a small group. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can increase or decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words (e.g., context clues, word parts, dictionary). For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by having students share their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
- For discussion on students' answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrive at the correct meaning of the word.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: These can be found in the note-taking sample answer key.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-independent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use this sample answer key to help them assess students answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions answer key.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt be sure to review responses to the text-dependent questions as a class.
- Encourage students to give brief oral summaries of the key points and supporting details of the article to a partner. This may help them as they prepare to respond to the writing prompt.
- The teacher may wish to have students do some brainstorming before they formally respond to the writing prompt. Students can review their answers to the note taking guide, as well as their answers to the text dependent questions and pull evidence from these locations, as well as the text itself. An idea is provided in the accommodations section for a brief outline that could be provided to students to help them plan their approach to answering the writing prompt.
- After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing an example response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or withanLCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Have students identify where in the response the various ocean features are discussed (color, phytoplankton concentration, and currents).
- Have students identify where in the response an explanation is given on how the fluctuations in atmospheric or ocean carbon concentration may impact global warming.
- Throughout the sample response, have students identify the use of domain-specific vocabulary including: atmosphere, biotic and abiotic factors, sequestering, insolation, surface temperatures
- At the very end of the lesson: Bring the lesson to a close by summarizing the main science concepts and then ask students to fill out an exit ticket on how they, as individuals, could make a change in the amount of carbon dioxide they contribute to climate change.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and a concluding statement. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts.
The prompt: It is well documented that human activity escalates the greenhouse effect due to its impact on the carbon dioxide/oxygen cycle. The Southern Ocean's color, phytoplankton concentration, and circumpolar and circulating currents contribute to the movement of these gases. Using information from the article, discuss how each of these ocean features (color, phytoplankton concentration, currents) will either increase or decrease atmospheric or ocean carbon concentrations and how these fluctuations may impact global warming.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond."
Accommodations & Recommendations
For struggling learners or readers:
- This NASA gives a great summary of what climate change is, actions that contribute to climate change, and how they measure indicators of climate change. Teachers may want to show this video before students read the text.
- Pairing students to review vocabulary and do note-taking in the Guided Practice of the lesson could help struggling readers to develop confidence and allow them to bounce ideas off others. It also builds engagement.
- Teachers may want to provide a simplified version of the note-taking sheet with fewer vocabulary words, or they might want to modify or partially fill in some of the charts at the end. Frequent circulation and facilitation should be done so that the teacher can be ready to assist if students need help. Attention should be given to the type of groups (pairs, triads or bigger groups) and the make-up of the groups.
- It might benefit students to break the text into sections.
- Have students independently read section one and two, and then have several strong readers read section one and two aloud.
- Then, have students highlight the selected vocabulary for section one and two on the article. Work with students to model ways to define a few of the vocabulary words to get them started. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which vocabulary strategy or strategies to use to define a word, and think aloud while deciding which meaning from a dictionary entry with multiple meanings would be the best fit for how the word is used in the context of the article. Then, have students define the rest of the vocabulary in section one and two.
- When students are ready, have them share out their answers and provide corrective verbal feedback as needed, allowing students to make corrections to their work.
- This process could be repeated for sections three and four.
- Students could then fill out the research questions section, and complete each of the charts at the end of the note-taking guide, having students share out and receive feedback in between each task.
For struggling writers:
- It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Topic sentence (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper’s overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Introduction paragraph:
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Body paragraphs:
- Topic sentence (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of domain-specific vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Additional information on theORCAS Project can be found on the following website. Students may use this site for further research:
- As an extension for enrichment, the video on the Southern Ocean currents (featured in the prior knowledge section) can be given for independent research, along with a review of the NCAR Website. At the ORCAS Project NCAR website, students can be asked to find the same article used in this lesson on the website (currently the information is on the homepage scrolling window but as time goes on it may be archived and they may have to search the site).
Questions can be asked about the opening graphic.
- How well does it support the text?
- What additional information is seen in the image that is not dealt with in-depth in the article? (the ocean floor levels) and clearer explanation of exactly what adds and releases oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Suggested Technology: Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the Florida Standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: Alison Seaton
District/Organization of Contributor(s): St. Lucie
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.