Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- investigate the properties of oceans (density, dissolution of CO2, and specific heat) that affect the global climate.
- connect the movement of ocean water to climate change.
- cite evidence from research and their investigation to support the claim that the ocean has a significant influence on climate change.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Before beginning this lesson students should have a foundational knowledge of the following concepts: properties of water, water cycle, dissolution of gases, carbon cycle, density, temperature, composition of ocean water, and specific heat.
Students should have a basic knowledge of word processing software such as Microsoft Word and presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Prezi. If needed, students or teachers should reference the following tutorials:
8th grade standards
- SC.8.E.5.7 - Compare and contrast the properties of objects in the Solar System including the Sun, planets, and moons to those of Earth, such as gravitational force, distance from the Sun, speed, movement, temperature, and atmospheric conditions.
- SC.8.E.5.9 - Explain the impact of objects in space on each other including: the Sun on the Earth including seasons and gravitational attraction and the Moon on the Earth, including phases, tides, and eclipses, and the relative position of each body.
- SC.8.P.8.3 - Explore and describe the densities of various materials through measurement of their masses and volumes.
- SC.8.L.18.1 - Describe and investigate the process of photosynthesis, such as the roles of light, carbon dioxide, water and chlorophyll; production of food; release of oxygen.
- SC.8.L.18.2 - Describe and investigate how cellular respiration breaks down food to provide energy and releases carbon dioxide.
- SC.8.L.18.3 - Construct a scientific model of the carbon cycle to show how matter and energy are....
Key Terms for this Lesson
- Surface temperature
- Coriolis effect
- Ocean currents
- Specific heat
- Dissolution of gases
- Carbon sink
- Carbon dioxide
- Greenhouse effect
- Global warming
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- How do oceans contribute to our global energy budget?
Oceans are a carbon sink and absorb about 50% of the carbon dioxide and methane contained in the Earth's atmosphere. Not only does the ocean absorb gasses, it also spreads warmth to polar regions and cools equatorial regions through the circulation of ocean waters. Students should learn throughout this lesson that cold water sinks due to its higher density and rises once warmed at the equatorial regions, creating a "Global Conveyor Belt." This process allows for redistribution of heat. Due to water's high specific heat, it takes a lot of energy in the form of solar radiation to warm the oceans. Winds that blow over the oceans allow cooling of the Earth's atmosphere through the evaporation of water.
- Which properties of oceans assist in creating a carbon sink?
Carbon dioxide dissolves in water, creating a carbon sink. Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide can dissolve in water at lower temperatures, which would assist us in balancing the global energy budget. Unfortunately, as global temperatures increase, the amount of carbon dioxide that can be dissolved is significantly lessened.
- How do carbon levels in the atmosphere affect our global climate?
Carbon is found in our atmosphere as molecules bonded with oxygen and/or hydrogen in the form of carbon dioxide, CO2, or methane, CH4. These two substances are two of many greenhouse gases. These gases cause the greenhouse effect, which traps the heat absorbed from solar radiation and causes global temperatures to rise. Scientist have determined that increased carbon emissions have lead to increased surface temperatures.
- Which biogeochemical cycles assist in distributing heat throughout the Earth? Explain.
- The water cycle can spread heat through the evaporation of water. More water evaporates at higher temperatures, increasing the amount of moisture in the air. When air becomes saturated with water molecules and cools, precipitation occurs. Convection currents, which are caused by the rising of cold air/water as it is warmed by the sun and cooling of air/water as it reaches higher levels in our atmosphere/oceans, redistribute heat across the continents.
- The carbon cycle explains how carbon is cycled throughout the Earth. Plants use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make their own food and grow. The carbon becomes part of the plant. Plants that die and are buried may turn into fossil fuels made of carbon, like coal and oil, over millions of years. When humans burn fossil fuels, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and traps heat in the atmosphere. Without it and other greenhouse gases, Earth would be a frozen world.
- What role do surface currents and atmospheric winds play in our global climate?
Over a dozen named ocean currents flow steadily on the surface and below the surface of the world's oceans. The currents are the result of interactions between the atmosphere and the hydrosphere, physical properties of seawater, and the contour of the ocean's surface. Because some currents are transporting warm water, they are actually carrying heat from place to place on Earth. This transport of heat plays a major role in regional and global climates.
- How does the information you have learned apply to the theory of global warming?
If CO2 levels continue to increase, eventually the oceans will become saturated and be unable to dissolve CO2 released through various processes. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas instrumental in the trapping of solar radiation, causing increased atmospheric temperatures. The increased carbon dioxide contributes to the acidification of the ocean waters, damaging many marine organisms.
- What can you do as global citizens to decrease the effects of global warming?
Decreasing my carbon footprint and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (car, electricity, production, etc.) would be most effective ways to decrease the effects of global warming.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Day 1 Opener:
- Use an LCD projector to display Gary Varvel's (from Go Comics).
- Pair students (Note: You can do this randomly by assigning students colors and numbers as they enter the classroom, or, if you have great classroom management, Elbow Buddies will work). Allow 7-10 minutes for students to Think-Pair-Share and jot down as many sources of carbon as possible.
- Use this discussion to decide whether remediation of concepts such as the carbon cycle and/or photosynthesis is necessary. If remediation is necessary, use the following resources:
Characteristics of the Ocean
The teacher will solicit answers from students regarding the characteristics of the ocean. If you need some additional information, please read the Ocean Literacy Guide from the Ocean Literacy Network. Concepts that you need to discuss with students include the salinity of water (amount of salt in water) and its affect on density, the specific heat of water (which enables water to absorb significant amounts of heat), and the ocean's ability to dissolve massive amounts of carbon dioxide.
The teacher will show a video from NASA called Oceans of Climate Change. This video lasts about 4 minutes.
- Distribute the Anticipation Guide worksheet for students to complete before the video; allow 4-5 minutes. After watching the video they will complete the section titled "after" and provide evidence from prior knowledge and/or the video to support their position (6-8 minutes).
- Allow time for discussion
- Formative Assessment - Analyzing Data (Carbon Dioxide and methane concentration and their affects on global temperature)
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
The teacher should have high energy for the next few days. Students will be interacting with labs designed to answer the guiding question, "How do oceans affect our global climate?"
- Quickly organize students into groups of four and spend a bit of time organizing your room to accommodate group work.
- Decide whether all students will be participating in the same lab on a given day or if you want to create rotating stations.
- Assign the for peer review to ensure that each student is engaged in the laboratory process. Student groups use the rubric to discuss and evaluate each member's performance. Students submit the completed rubric with names to the teacher once the labs are completed.
Day 2-4: Labs
Students will complete 3 mini-lab activities and learn various facts about the properties of oceans. You can either allow all students to participate in each lab on each day (50 min. classes) or you can allow them to rotate through the three different stations.
- If all students will work on the same lab each day, organize students into groups of no more than four.
- If students will rotate through stations over the course of the three days, then two groups of four will be working at each of the lab stations at any given time. (This works well with a class of about 25 students; if the class is larger, plan accordingly.)
- The teacher should consistently circulate and assist, monitoring student conversation and using probing questions to gauge student mastery. If any misconceptions arise then they should be addressed at this time so that student progression is not in the wrong direction.
- Leave the last five to seven minutes of class each day to allow students to use sticky notes to document on the parking lot posted in front of the room and to clean up lab stations. Students should also use the self-reflection rubric (see Formative Assessment) to document their knowledge of the learning goals and record which items they have mastered as well as any concerns in their laboratory notebook.
Station 1 - Salinity
The teacher should be comfortable with the idea that saline water (saltwater) is more dense than fresh water and cold water is more dense than warm/hot water. Allow students to experiment to answer any other questions they may have.
Station 2 - Solubility of Carbon Dioxide in Water (Lab from CarboSchools)
The teacher should remind students that carbon dioxide is absorbed by oceans, which helps to balance our energy budget. Discuss why carbon dioxide is important to our atmosphere. Think along the lines of greenhouse gases that trap solar radiation therefore heating the atmosphere of Earth. It is also necessary for biological processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. The the ocean absorbs about 50% of the Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide, which helps to stabilize the earth's temperature.
Station 3 - Coriolis Effect
Print a map of the world for each student at this rotation. Show students the video on the Coriolis Effect. (The video can be displayed for the whole group or shown to students at the station.) Discuss how the rotation of the Earth affects the surface currents and winds in our atmosphere. If the Earth did not rotate, air would circulate between the poles (high pressure areas) and the equator (low pressure areas) in a simple North-South pattern.
Display the interactive map of surface currents; discuss why surface currents are presented in the specific colors and what causes temperature changes.
Demonstrate what would occur if warm water interacts with cold water. Either show students a video demonstration of temperature and water density or follow the attached directions to perform the demonstration yourself. Allow students to document their observations and then discuss why this occurs.
Ensure that students have enough time to complete any analysis and/or charts/graphs needed. Teacher should also use this time to address parking lot questions and/or misconceptions. Allow five to seven minutes at the end of class for students to complete the parking lot activity and complete the self-reflection rubric.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Students will complete analysis questions at the end of each station. These questions assist in formally assessing student information of the content material. Students record their answers in their lab notebooks. During independent practice, teachers should be willing to assist students as necessary but allow classmates/group members to have augmented discussions about the data. Please see the labs for answers.
Station 1: Analysis worksheet
Station 2: Analysis questions
- Which produces the largest volume of air space inside the graduated cylinder cold or warm water?
- What will be the consequences of a warming ocean? How will this affect the role of the oceans as a carbon dioxide sink (absorber)?
- Where in the world's oceans will you expect more carbon dioxide uptake? Where would you expect less?
Station 3: Analysis questions
- What are ocean currents and how are they formed?
- Compare and contrast the Gulf Stream current with the Canary current.
- What is the significance of the Labrador current?
- How does surface water behave when it approaches a land barrier? What pattern does this create?
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
The teacher will verbally debrief the information gained from each of the lab rotations. Students should be instructed to present their findings and discuss the rationale for their observations. Student misconceptions will be cleared and discussed for each station below. The teacher should be facilitating and soliciting student responses. If students aren't willing to share, then the teacher may randomly solicit responses using the .
- Student results should be that the salt water is more dense and therefore will sink below the freshwater and causing stratification. Extremely salty water will sink below the lightly salty water, but both are more dense than the freshwater.
- The extension added temperature into the equation. Students should find that cold water is more dense than hot water and that if the water is both salty and cold it will settle to the bottom of the container.
- Students should find that as you increase the temperature of water the dissolution rate of carbon dioxide will decrease, an inverse proportionality. The rationale for this gas solubility relationship with temperature is very similar to the reason that vapor pressure increases with temperature. Increased temperature causes an increase in kinetic energy. The higher kinetic energy causes more motion in molecules, which break their intermolecular bonds and escape from solution. For example, think about what happens to a glass of soda as it stands at room temperature. The soda becomes flat as more carbon dioxide bubbles escaped. Boiled water also tastes "flat" because all of the dissolved oxygen gas has been removed by heating.
- Ocean currents are affected by both the temperature (convection - rise of warm air and fall of cool air) and the Coriolis Effect. Because the Earth is spinning on its axis the tangential velocity is approximately 1000 km/h at the equator and 0 km/h at the poles. This causes objects that would normally travel in a straight line to curve to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. This chops our two theoretical cells into three cells per hemisphere. (If more information is needed, please read Currents by the NOAA.) Use the Interactive Map of Winds and Currents to discuss what is happening at the equator, 30° N and S latitudes, 60° N and S, and the poles.
Day 6 or 7 (depending on student mastery and the need to review)
Use the Formative Assessment questions to gauge student understanding. Students may respond using Interactive Clickers; if clickers are not available, the teacher might use Edmodo, Socrative or Poll Everywhere.
Introduce the summative assessment to students and provide instructions as well as the rubrics for each portion of the assessment. If students have access to computers and can work cooperatively in groups, then most of the assessment can be completed outside of class time. If your students have limited computer access and/or transportation, allow 2-3 days of class time for students to complete the project.
Supply every student with the article "" to assist with the assigned Problem-Based Assessment.
- Each group will present their claim and evidence with a flip chart and a PowerPoint presentation. Students will then use the knowledge gained through this lesson to compose their own persuasive letters to the administrator of the EPA reporting their findings.
- Rubrics for grading assessments:
Students will complete multiple formative assessments:
- To gauge student understanding of the topics addressed in this lesson, show students the Santa Claus cartoon and ask them to list sources of carbon dioxide using their prior knowledge.
- Exit ticket (after Day 1) - Students will analyze a graph of carbon dioxide and methane levels relative to global temperatures over time.
- (after lab days, Day 2-5) - Write the following headings on a flip chart paper posted in front of the room: "I Know... (+)," "I Still Don't Understand... (-)," and "I Am Confused About... (?)." Students write on a sticky note to post under each heading.
- Circulate and assist throughout the lesson - While students are performing their guided practice, assist students with misconceptions and ask questions about what they are learning. Remember to talk to each group and make sure that instructions are clear. (Hint: You may want to give each student a Group Work Rubric to ensure that all students are participating in the activity.)
- Assess student understanding by asking formative assessment questions and having students respond using clickers. This should be done during whole class instruction at the end of day 5 or beginning of day 6. (If clickers are not available, the teacher could use websites such as Edmodo, Socrative, or Poll Everywhere if students do have access to cellphones or computers.)
- Student Self-Reflection Rubric with journal (to be done daily at the beginning or end of each class period) - Students will rate their mastery of the learning goals. They will write their current progress in their lab notebooks daily. Circulate and monitor that the scale score is written in their notebooks everyday to ensure that there is moderate growth and revise instruction as necessary. Have students specifically state what type of assistance is needed.
Feedback to Students
- The teacher will provide written feedback on student Day 1 ticket out.
- The teacher will circulate and assist daily, providing verbal feedback to students (groups of 4) while asking probing questions to monitor student mastery and addressing misconceptions on a smaller scale.
- The teacher will address the parking lot on Day 6-7 after students have completed mini-labs and analysis questions.
- The teacher will address student misconceptions during the review of anonymous answers or preidentified data via clickers, Socrative, Poll everywhere, or Edmodo are some other type of polling software given on Day 6 or 7.
- The teacher will circulate and visually gauge student needs as indicated in their lab notebooks through the self-reflection rubric.