When we think about the ocean, we may visualize sea turtles swimming around coral reefs, sea urchins anchored in tide pools, dolphins breaching the surface. Or even shrimp gathered around deepwater sulfur vents. But most of the ocean is just open water. Miles and miles of it from below the surface to thousands of feet down. This ocean midwater is the largest habitat on Earth!... < read more >
Would you like to explore the ocean's midwater habitat? Why or why not?
What kinds of specialized equipment do you think marine biologists might need to study the ocean midwater habitat?
According to the article, some of the most surprising secrets in the ocean midwater habitat are invertebrates. Why do you think that is?
According to the article, the ocean's midwater habitat is cold, dark and under high pressure. From a scientific perspective, why do you think those characteristics make this habitat difficult to study?
Write About Protecting Ocean Diversity
- As a class, watch the Smithsonian Science How webcast, "Ocean Biodiversity-Discovering Marine Invertebrates." Instruct students to take notes as they watch to record important ideas and interesting details.
- Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Encourage students to make a list of the most important things they learned as they share and compare their notes.
- Using their notes as a guideline, instruct partners or groups to write a brief essay about biodiversity in the ocean. Challenge them to describe what the ocean is like, explain why it is important to maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem and identify things people can do to protect biodiversity in the ocean.
Invite students to share their essays with the class. Challenge them to identify the most important things people can do to protect biodiversity in the ocean.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Have students write their essays in small groups. As they do, remind them to introduce the topic clearly, develop it with facts and interesting details and summarize their positions with a strong concluding statement.
Have students write their essays in small groups. As they do, remind them to introduce the topic clearly, develop it with facts and concrete details and summarize their positions with a strong concluding statement. Encourage students to include at least one direct quotation from the webcast that supports their ideas about maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem.
Have students write their essays with a partner. Instruct them to craft an introduction that introduces the topic clearly and piques readers' interest so they want to learn more. Tell them to develop the topic with facts, details, definitions and quotations from the webcast. If necessary, encourage them to conduct additional research to learn more about the topic. Challenge students to conclude their essays with a strong statement that supports their ideas about maintaining and protecting the ocean ecosystem.
Divide the class into pairs. After watching the video, have partners conduct research to learn about current threats to the oceans. Challenge them to identify specific actions that have been taken and how those actions have helped protect biodiversity in the ocean. Then have partners write an essay that introduces the topic clearly and piques readers' interest so they want to learn more. Tell them to develop the topic with facts, details, definitions and quotations from the webcast. Challenge students to conclude their essays with a strong statement that supports their ideas about maintaining and protecting the ocean ecosystem.
Teaching Resources: Biodiversity of Ocean Invertebrates After watching the “Biodiversity of Ocean Invertebrates” webcast, support students’ learning with this collection of resources from the National Museum of Natural History.
Ocean Planet: Interdisciplinary Marine Science Activities With these lessons from the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, students can dip into the subjects of ocean geography, ocean creatures and our uses and misuses of this largely unexplored world. The site includes a section on the ocean in language and literature.
Ocean Portal: Find Your Blue Invite students to explore Earth’s oceans with this site from the National Museum of Natural History. Topics covered include ocean life and ecosystems, the planet ocean, the ocean through time, conservation and the human connection.
An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch Is the world running out of fish? Watch this Smithsonian Channel video to learn about an unconventional and comprehensive study by marine biologist Dr. Daniel Pauly, which finds that we have drastically underestimated the true number of fish caught globally and must change our ways soon or face disaster.
MarineGEO & Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network Visit this site to learn about initiatives underway at the Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO), the first long-term, worldwide research program to focus on understanding coastal marine life and its role in maintaining resilient ecosystems around the world.
The Rise of Ocean Optimism Read this Smithsonian article to learn why sharing news of little wins for the environment fuels hope for the future.
Why the First Complete Map of the Ocean Floor Is Stirring Controversial Waters Charting the ocean’s watery depths could transform oceanography. It could also aid deep sea miners looking for profit. Read this Smithsonian article to learn more about this debate.
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