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Monday Morning Ready02.23.2018
Jumpstart Your Week!

It’s no secret that the world’s coral reefs are in bad shape. Climate change has led to widespread coral bleaching, overfishing has disrupted the ecosystems that keep reefs healthy and toxic runoffs from human industry are destroying the so-called “rainforests of the sea.” ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Based on what you learned from the article, do you think it's important to save coral reefs? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

How do you think Earth would change if people destroyed all of the coral reefs?

Grade 7-8

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?

Grade 9-10

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?

LESSON PLAN
Organize a Community Cleanup Day

PROCESS:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.

ASSESSMENT: 

After the community cleanup day is over, hold a class discussion to recap what happened. Encourage students to share their ideas for keeping the local environment cleaner in the future.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
Organize the event yourself. Require each student to participate. After the event, encourage students to identify three things they can do to reduce the amount of litter in their local environment.
Grades 5-6:
Invite students to help you organize the event. Require each student to participate. After the event, encourage students to identify five things they can do to reduce the amount of litter in their local environment.
Grades 7-8:
Once you have selected a site, divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a specific part of the project. Supervise as groups plan the step-by-step process for completing their tasks. You may wish to work with other classes or expand this into an all-school project. After students complete the project, encourage them to write an evaluation outlining what they did, how it helped the environment and what actions they can take in the future to keep the area clean. 
Grades 9-10:
Once you have selected a site, encourage students to select a team of supervisors. Each supervisor will oversee a specific area of the project. All other students will work in small groups to complete specific tasks. Encourage teams to outline the step-by-step process for completing their tasks so the overall project flows as seamlessly as possible. You may wish to work with other classes or expand this into an all-school project. Encourage students to enlist the help of parents, siblings and other community members as well. After students complete the project, encourage them to write an evaluation outlining what they did, how it helped the environment and what actions they can take in the future to keep the area clean.
VISUAL RESOURCES: WORLD WATER DAY
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Ocean Portal Educator’s Corner
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.

What is a Coral Reef?
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.

The Water Nearby
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.

The Way of Water in the World
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.

Pollution Solution
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.

Turning Ocean Garbage Into Gold
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.
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