Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH)

Article excerpt

Science teachers and students will soon have access to a remarkable influx of data courtesy of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). IOOS is being coordinated by the National Office for Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observations (Ocean.US), and will provide routine and timely data and information on the state of oceans, the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Great Lakes, and estuaries through-out the United States.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) have created an educational outreach program titled "Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH)," which will serve as a portal to this wealth of ocean observatory data. EARTH (www.mbari.org/education/EARTH) provides teachers with the means for integrating real-time data with existing educational standards and tested curriculum.

For the past three years MBA and MBARI have held a series of workshops that included K-12 teachers along with educators from other research institutions, universities, and community colleges. As a result of the workshops, MBA and MBARI have developed inquiry-based lesson plans and activities that are now available online to educators, free of charge. Activities focus on a range of topics from tracking pelagic organisms to global climate change. All of the activities are connected to the National Science Education Standards and provide materials, methods, and additional website resources for both teachers and students.

The sample activity (Figure 1, p. 57) included in this article is only a small portion of what is available online. Teachers who try this activity or any of the other activities online are encouraged to complete an assessment rubric at www.mbari.org/education/EARTH/EARTH_rubric.doc. The feedback will be used to further develop useful resources for students and teachers.

George Matsumoto is senior education and research specialist at the Monterey

Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039; e-mail: mage@mbari.org.

FIGURE 1. Iron fertilization and global climate change. (This activity
can be conducted by students. For more information and additional
activities, visit www.mbari.org/education/EARTH.)

Introduction
Moss Landing (CA) researchers reveal iron as key to climate change:
www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2004/sofex.html

What is a biological pump?
1. Visit the following website: www.mbari.org/education/EARTH/Iron/
   biological_pump.pdf
2. Gather in pairs and discuss what terms should be included in the
   boxes shown on the first slide.
3. Check your answers using the second and third slides.
4. In your own words, or using a diagram, explain what a biological pump
   means.

The SOFeX Expedition
1. Visit the following website: www.mbari.org/expeditions/SOFeX2002
2. Spend some time exploring all the parts of this website.
3. Create a poster describing what these scientists were trying to find
   out, how they went about their work, and the results they obtained.
   Besides the basics, here are some things to consider, including: What
   kind of training did the people on the trip have? What kinds of
   equipment did they use? What are some of the difficulties they
   encountered?

Measuring and graphing the data
How do we measure how much phytoplankton is growing in an area of the
ocean? … 

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