Based on what you learned from the article, do you think it's important to save coral reefs? Why or why not?
How do you think Earth would change if people destroyed all of the coral reefs?
According to the article, billions of plastic items are ensnared in coral reefs. And experts predict that number will increase by 40 percent by 2025. What, if anything, do you think people can or should do to prevent this from happening?
According to the article, a variety of human activities are destroying coral reefs. And while this is a worldwide issue, the problem is not evenly distributed-at least in relation to plastics. Imagine that you were in charge of a global initiative to save coral reefs. Considering the many social, political and financial aspects related this problem, how would you convince countries around the world to work together to find a solution?
- Poll the class to see how many students have seen litter on the ground outside your school. Brainstorm a list of the types of litter they've seen, such as soda cans, candy bar wrappers, plastic bottles, etc.
- If weather permits, take the class outside. Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to tally the number of items they find for each type of litter. If they see an item that the class didn't identify, have them add that item to the list and keep a tally for it, too. Rejoin in the classroom and compare results.
- As a class, discuss how litter affects your local environment. Then explore area maps to see how litter from your local area gets into waterways and can eventually make it all the way to the ocean. Guide students to recognize that a plastic bottle they drop outside the school can someday harm a coral reef.
- Discuss with students different ways they can protect their local environment. Then select a local waterway or area park and organize a community cleanup day for your class, grade or school. If possible, enlist the help of parents, older siblings and other community members.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
This National Museum of Natural History site features a collection of top resources from Smithsonian collaborators to provide you with teacher-tested, ocean science activities, lessons and resources that will help you bring the ocean to life for your students.
Through this lesson from the National Museum of Natural History, middle school students will gain an understanding of the basic components of a coral reef ecosystem. Emphasis is give to specific abiotic and biotic factors crucial to reef health and trophic level relationships among key organisms.
In this activity from the National Museum of Natural History, students use Google Maps to locate their school and then find and learn about the closest body of water to the school. By working with maps, students build visual literacy and begin to develop geographical awareness.
This lesson plan for high school students from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum looks at global issues of water shortage and contamination. Students conduct Internet research and work in small groups to find solutions to these problems.
In this Smithsonian Education lesson, students will predict the effects of an oil spill on a marine environment and establish a list of solutions to avoid unnecessary oil pollution.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how one recycling organization is trying to find a home for all ocean refuse, ranging from the common plastic water bottle to the shoes of tsunami victims.