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We are pleased to present you with the fourth in a series of teaching and learning modules developed by the DEEPEND (Deep-Pelagic Nekton Dynamics) Consortium and their consultants. Whenever possible, the lessons will focus specifically on events of the Gulf of Mexico or work from the DEEPEND scientists.
All modules in this series aim to engage students in grades 6 through 12 in STEM disciplines, while promoting student learning of the marine environment. We hope these lessons enable teachers to address student misconceptions and apprehensions regarding the unique organisms and properties of marine ecosystems. We intend for these modules to be a guide for teaching. Teachers are welcome to use the lessons in any order, use just portions of lessons, and may modify the lessons as they wish. Furthermore, educators may share these lessons with other school districts and teachers; however, please do not receive monetary gain for lessons in any of the modules.
You can download the module and view our other modules here; http://outreach.deependconsortium.org/index.php/education/resources/lesson-plans
Hello DeepEnd readers!
I want to let you know about a special opportunity that I had recently! On February 18 2016 I was a guest speaker at Sheridan Technical High School!! Ms. Brittney Smith, who is a first year teacher down in Fort Lauderdale, invited me to speak to her AP Environmental Science class. Their recent unit dealt with different biomes found throughout the planet, the variety of life found within, and how human activity has altered the environment.
The reason for my visit was to dive a little deeper into the oceanic environment and teach the kids about an area of the ocean that is little understood or explored. The deep sea is considered to be the world’s largest biome, with 90% of the ocean classified as deep sea. Contained within this massive volume are some truly unique ecosystems each with their own challenges, organisms, and adaptations. We discussed general challenges that organisms face in the deep-sea such as: increased pressure, lack of down-welling light, low temperatures, and a food poor environment. The kids learned some adaptations commonly seen in deep-sea critters: bioluminescence, transparency, red, brown, and black skin pigmentation, slower metabolism, delayed sexual maturity, longevity, brittle bones and flabby muscle tissues. Much to the students delight I was able to bring some specimens along so they could see what these amazing critters look like and how different they are to the classical fish image that comes to their minds.
I reintroduced the kids to the unique ecosystems that the deep contains, such as hydrothermal vents, methane seeps, brine pools, and whale falls. We also learned about some of the critters associated with these unique oases.
Human impact is a very consistent theme for AP Environmental Science. We learned how and why deep-sea fisheries are unsustainable by looking at case studies of Orange Roughy and Chilean Sea Bass. We learned the dangers of bottom trawling and how plastics can impact the oceans.
As my time with each class came to a close I was able to tell them about all the cool stuff we are doing with DeepEnd and how they can follow us on social media and even ask us questions! The students left the classroom seeing fish that most of the world does not know exist and with a deeper understanding and sense of wonderment of the world’s largest biome!!
Well, there you have it folks, another workshop in the books. On Saturday February 20, 2016, the DeepEnd crew hosted a diverse group of educators for the Teacher Workshop at the Oceanographic Campus of NOVA Southeastern University. This year we had 16 participants, ranging from first year teachers to seasoned veterans. The day started with introductions from members of DeepEnd and a fun game of Get-2-Know BINGO! A short pretest was all that was standing in the way of activities and deep-sea knowledge!
Teachers were given a flash drive loaded with tons of deep-sea information and fun labs they can incorporate into their lessons. The rest of the day was centered around demonstrating and participating in some of these labs. As every class is different the teachers always had helpful hints and tips to improve or tweak the lab to fit a specific curriculum.
The workshop focuses on how to bring deep-sea research into the class room, and what would a deep-sea workshop be without some show and tell!! These teachers were able to see a variety of deep sea critters, most of which many people don’t even know exist!!! Challenges of the deep ocean and special adaptations were discussed to give the educators a better background when they cover oceanic environments in class.
As Saturday afternoon turned to early evening we wrapped up the workshop. A day filled with interactive labs and deep-sea facts was coming to an end. The post test was handed out and applications to Teacher at Sea were distributed. Who would have thought that spending a Saturday with a bunch of teachers would be so fun!! We hope the information gained on this day helps them continue doing an amazing job both inside and outside the classroom!
Thank you teachers for joining us!