SC.912.L.17.16

Discuss the large-scale environmental impacts resulting from human activity, including waste spills, oil spills, runoff, greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, and surface and groundwater pollution.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 912
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Standard: Interdependence -

A. The distribution and abundance of organisms is determined by the interactions between organisms, and between organisms and the non-living environment.

B. Energy and nutrients move within and between biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems via physical, chemical and biological processes.

C. Human activities and natural events can have profound effects on populations, biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2000320: Biology 1 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000330: Biology 2 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
3027020: Biotechnology 2 (Specifically in versions: 2015 and beyond (current))
2000380: Ecology (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001340: Environmental Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002450: Integrated Science 3 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000390: Limnology (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018 (course terminated))
2002500: Marine Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002510: Marine Science 1 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002520: Marine Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002530: Marine Science 2 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2003400: Nuclear Radiation (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018 (course terminated))
2020710: Nuclear Radiation Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002540: Solar Energy Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002550: Solar Energy 2 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018 (course terminated))
2003500: Renewable Energy 1 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 - 2023 (current), 2023 and beyond)
2001341: Environmental Science Honors (Specifically in versions: 2016 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001330: Meteorology Honors (Specifically in versions: 2016 - 2019, 2019 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Image/Photograph

Oil Slick Satellite Image:

NASA Aqua Satellite image, captured on April 25, 2010, of an oil slick caused by the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

Type: Image/Photograph

Lesson Plans

Harmful Algal Blooms:

Harmful algal blooms are the result of bacteria and phytoplankton obtaining far too many nutrients from fertilizers, sewage, and other pollutants. This lesson explains the causes and effects of these blooms in depth, and students will consider solutions for reducing blooms around Florida. This lesson involves a classroom discussion of the costs and benefits involved in reducing harmful algal blooms, and how science can be used to inform policy.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ocean Acidification:

Climate change has a multitude of effects, one being the acidification of our oceans. This lesson explains why oceans acidify as human release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and describes the effects of mild pH change on the ocean’s inhabitants. Students perform three tasks related to the topic through a “Tic Tac Toe Choice Board.”

Type: Lesson Plan

Sea Level Rise:

Climate change has a multitude of effects, one being the increase in sea level. This lesson explains why sea levels are rising, explains the impacts on coastal communities, and explores some of the laws that could be making the situation worse. Students perform three tasks related to the topic through a “Tic Tac Toe Choice Board.”

Type: Lesson Plan

The Surprising World of Complex Systems:

This lesson introduces students to complex systems and to basic concepts from the field of system dynamics that lie at the heart of systems thinking. These concepts include stocks and flows, feedback loops, unintended consequences, and the basic principle that the behavior of complex systems can best be understood by looking at the system as a whole, and specifically by analyzing the system’s underlying structure. The lesson introduces these topics through an immersion in (and a role-play simulation of) the dynamics of urban recycling systems, many of which have been thrown into crisis in the past two years. Through this current-affairs example of complex systems in crisis, we identify some key structural features that help to explain how these systems behave over time. We also discover how well-intentioned action can cause negative unintended consequences when we try to intervene in a complex system without understanding how it operates.

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12. Water Use and Society, Lesson 3: A Question of Quality :

Students will learn about water quality management for the Everglades and will analyze sample data from a Stormwater Treatment Area. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12. Everglades Restoration, Lesson 2: Our Changing Watershed :

Students will read a passage from Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s The Everglades: The River of Grass and compare the description with the present day Everglades. They will then look at the impacts from the US Army Corps of Engineers project and evaluate whether the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) addresses these issues. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12. Everglades Restoration, Lesson 3: A Look at CERP:

Students will analyze information about various current and ongoing CERP projects and report on the progress that is being made. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12 Environmental Factors of the Everglades, Lesson 1: The Heart of a Watershed :

In small groups, students build a model landscape to illustrate the uniqueness of the Kissimmee-Lake Okeechobee-Everglades (K-O-E) watershed and use a model to demonstrate how alterations have affected it.

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12. Everglades Restoration, Lesson 1: Everglades Restoration :

Students explore the costs and environmental impacts of land development and restoration.

Type: Lesson Plan

Too Much of a Good Thing: Human Activities Overload Ecosystems with Nitrogen:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article briefly summarizes the nitrogen cycle, then explains how human activities have impacted ecosystems through the increased release of nitrogen and explores potential solutions to alleviate the issues caused by excess nitrogen. A video is also presented which explores why Florida had a large-scale eutrophication event in 2016 and presents solutions and economic implications of the event. By reading, viewing, and synthesizing information from the article and video, students learn how excess nitrogen impacts aquatic ecosystems and the economy. Further, they will be able to provide suggestions to lessen our impact on these systems. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mercury Levels are Rising!:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses a new method for measuring the amount of mercury in the environment that is formed as a byproduct of human activities. The text describes how scientists were able to develop a method for measuring mercury by using data about phosphate and carbon dioxide levels. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Stinging Truth about Jellyfish:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses the fluctuations of the jellyfish population in the Bering Sea and describes how a new study explains the increase and decrease of jellyfish in that ecosystem. The study focuses on whether or not rising water temperature (due to climate change) is the driving factor in jellyfish population growth. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Man vs. Volcano: Who Let the Carbon Out?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article compares carbon emissions from human activities to those from natural volcanic processes. The authors outline the methods, data collection, and findings of carbon emissions, closing the debate on what releases the most carbon. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Dangerous Fog:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The text discusses the presence of monomethyl mercury in California sea fog and how it is affecting nearby terrestrial environments. The article further explains the research that was conducted and discusses future studies. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Hole in the Ozone:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article informs readers about the ozone layer and why it was larger and lasted longer in 2015 than in previous years. Although it was unusually large, the practices that have been followed since the Montreal Protocol was enacted have actually resulted in a long-term decrease in the size of the ozone hole. The text explains the aberration and also provides general information about the ozone layer and its function in protecting human life. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide:

In this lesson, students will read and analyze an informational text designed to support reading in the content area. This article describes the rise of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere and its likely effects on the planet, including climate change and ocean acidification. The contains an interactive graph that supports the text.

Type: Lesson Plan

Fighting Marine Debris on the Alaskan Coast:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text designed to support reading in the content area. The text is the transcript of an interview concerning the removal of marine debris from the coast of Alaska. The interview subject explains how marine debris needs to be researched, removed, and prevented. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Ideas for extending the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

What Lies Beneath: Coastal Blue Carbon :

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses the issue of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from carbon sink sites located in coastal habitats. This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how carbon that has been stored for potentially thousands of years is getting released into the atmosphere due to coastal habitat destruction of mangrove forests, salt marshes, and sea grass beds. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Biological Magnification in Aquatic Ecosystems:

This lesson is a hands-on, one-day lab that uses candies to simulate biological magnification. Students learn about energy transfer and DDT accumulation through tropic levels in an aquatic ecosystem.

Type: Lesson Plan

Preserving Our Marine Ecosystems:

The focus of this MEA is oil spills and their effect on the environment. In this activity, students from a fictitious class are studying about the effects of an oil spill on marine ecosystems and have performed an experiment in which they were asked to try to rid a teaspoon of corn oil from a baking pan filled with two liters of water as thoroughly as possible in a limited timeframe and with limited resources. By examining, analyzing, and evaluating experimental data related to resource usage, disposal, and labor costs, students must face the tradeoffs that are involved in trying to preserve an ecosystem when time, money, and resources are limited.

Type: Lesson Plan

Clean Park - Environmental MEA:

The environmental conditions in parks can influence the availability of food, light, space, and water and hence affect the growth and development of animals. It can become worse and lead to endangerment and extinction of various species. The following are areas in nature that can be affected: lakes, plants, animal life in and outside of water and many more.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

SUSHI MANIA:

This MEA is designed to educate students about the biomagnification of mercury in aquatic ecosystems.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Overfishing Kills Reef Systems!:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses the effects of overfishing on coral reef systems. The text explains how scientists have found that overfishing removes many of the algae-eating fish, and this causes an increase in algae growth, which leads to a microbial increase, and finally leads to coral mortality. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. 

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Plants versus Pollutants Model Eliciting Activity:

The Plants versus Pollutants MEA provides students with an open-ended problem in which they must work as a team to design a procedure to select the best plants to clean up certain toxins. This MEA requires students to formulate a phytoremediation-based solution to a problem involving cleaning of a contaminated land site. Students are provided the context of the problem, a request letter from a client asking them to provide a recommendation, and data relevant to the situation. Students utilize the data to create a defensible model solution to present to the client.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

Phosphorus in the Everglades:

Learn how phosphorus pollution can lead to changes in the Everglades. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Methylmercury in the Everglades:

Explore the impact of methylmercury pollution in the Everglades wetland ecosystem.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Deep Sea Ecosystems:

Sandra Brooke, from FSU Marine Lab, talks about undersea canyon ecosystems.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Shark Population Analysis and Policy:

Enric Cortes discuses shark population data collected and the use of data to influence policy decisions.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Research Methods to Understand Phosphorous in the Everglades:

Dr. Melodie Naja of The Everglades Foundation describes research and modeling programs designed to better understand origins and localized levels of phosphorous pollution in the Everglades.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Bioaccumulation of Methylmercury in the Everglades:

Dr. Melodie Naja describes the link between agricultural pollutants and the bioaccumulation of methylmercury in the fresh surface waters of the Everglades.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Habitat Changes in Related to Phosphorous Pollution in the Everglades:

Watch as Dr. Stephen E. Davis, III explains how excess phosphorous pollution is impacting the Everglades.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Periphyton in the Everglades:

Periphyton plays several vital roles in the Everglades. Watch now to find out more!

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Rapid Genetic Identification of Sharks:

Dr. Mahmood Shivji explains how rapid genetic testing of shark tissue samples is used to address societal pressures on marine environments.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

MicroGravity Sensors & Statistics:

Statistical analysis played an essential role in using microgravity sensors to determine location of caves in Wakulla County.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Oil Spills and Biodiversity:

Do you think you know oil there is to know about human impact on the environment? Let this biologist explain.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Negative Impacts of Oil Spills:

Learn how the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution experts track oil-soaked sand patties on the Gulf Coast to monitor possible negative environmental impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiasts

Composting and Decomposers:

In this video, Mark Tancig explains how decomposers are vital to the process of composting.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Determining Remote Locations with Math:

Ecologist, Rebecca Means, describes the process of determining remote locations in the USA and developing quantitative questions that are appropriate.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Sample Size and Shark Research:

Deep sea shark researcher, Chip Cotton, discusses the need for a Power Analysis to determine the critical sample size in order to make inferences on how oil spills affect shark populations.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Waste Reduction from Glass Art Fabrication:

Glass artist Russel Scaturro explains how fine control of gas flow aids efforts to minimize his carbon footprint toward a larger goal of environmentally-conscious fabrication methodology. 

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Graphs Help Identify Cost-Effective Sea Turtle Conservation Strategies:

This marine biologist discusses her use of graphical representations to help determine the most cost-effective management strategies for sea turtle conservation.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Estimating Oil Seep Production by Bubble Volume:

You'll need to bring your computer skills and math knowledge to estimate oil volume and rate as it seeps from the ocean floor. Dive in!

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Oil Spill Cleanup Kits:

Wade into science with students by cleaning up model oil spills!

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Professional Developments

Climate Change: Just the Facts:

This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to incorporate literacy skills into their science curriculum. This tutorial will demonstrate how to help students identify an author's purpose and point of view as well as the question the author seeks to address. The focus on literacy across content areas is intended to help foster students' reading, writing, and thinking skills in multiple disciplines.

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version.

Type: Professional Development

Rising Tide: Crisis in the Pacific:

This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to incorporate literacy skills into their science curriculum. This tutorial will demonstrate how to help students identify an author's purpose in a text and identify any unresolved important issues. The focus on literacy across content areas is intended to help foster students' reading, writing, and thinking skills in multiple disciplines.

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version.

Type: Professional Development

Teaching Idea

Lagoon Debate-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Given a common environmental situation, students will research available literature or other resources for more information, and logically argue a viewpoint. They will be able to demonstrate a real-life decision-making process and evaluate its outcome.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Scientists Discover Stinging Truths About Jellyfish Blooms in the Bering Sea:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how jellyfish populations in the Bering Sea have been impacted by different limiting factors like temperature and food availability. Scientists suspect that increasing water temperatures affect the development of polyps in multiple ways. In addition, the study is a multi-disciplinary effort between experts in marine ecology, statistics, and the mathematical geosciences. It is thought such models may be applied to other marine and land-based ecological studies and the spread of infectious diseases.

Type: Text Resource

Too Much of a Good Thing: Human Activities Overload Ecosystems with Nitrogen:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Human activities, mainly the use of fertilizer, are overloading ecosystems with nitrogen. Nitrogen is a dynamic cycle that is mediated by bacteria. Humans have been contributing to the nitrogen cycle through synthetic nitrogen fixation. This has resulted in eutrophication of aquatic systems and greenhouse gas emissions. Methods to increase the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer use are discussed.

Type: Text Resource

Mercury-Laden Fog Swirls over Coastal California, Scientists Find:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the research conducted on the amounts of methyl mercury found in fog samples. Two different studies were conducted, and both indicate that fog is a major contributor and source of the presence of methyl mercury in an inland environment.

Type: Text Resource

Which Emits More Carbon Dioxide: Volcanoes or Human Activities?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article answers the question of whether volcanic activity or human activities contribute more to global warming. With evidence and support, they easily conclude human activities are the heaviest contributor

Type: Text Resource

Too Much Algae—and Too Many Microbes—Threaten Coral Reefs:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article describes a recent study that helped researchers prove a link between overfishing to increased growth of fleshy algae to microbialization. This increase in microbes causes a depletion of the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. In addition, the increase in microbial growth can spread disease. In conclusion, microbialization is found to be a major contributing factor to the destruction and decline of coral reef health.

Type: Text Resource

Annual Antarctic Ozone Hole Larger and Formed Later in 2015:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text provides information about 2015's ozone hole, showing why it is larger this year and lasted longer than previous years. The article shows how the protective ozone layer changes with the seasons and is different each year. Although the hole is large this year, the practices that have been followed since the Montreal Protocol was enacted have allowed the ozone hole to slowly decrease, and it should be back to 1980 levels by 2070.

Type: Text Resource

Alaska: Marine Debris in the Wilderness:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text is a transcript of an interview with Peter Murphy, the Alaska Regional Coordinator of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The interview highlights some of the challenges of removing marine debris in Alaska, specific projects, and goals for future work.

Type: Text Resource

Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article describes the possible effects on the planet due to the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, especially the implications for climate change.

Type: Text Resource

Coastal Blue Carbon:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes different ecosystems that store carbon, like forests, and goes into how carbon is stored more efficiently in coastal ecosystems. The text goes on to advocate for conserving and protecting our coastal ecosystems to keep the carbon stored and prevent the carbon from being released into the atmosphere to further impact the planet through climate change. The text also explores other benefits for conserving coastal ecosystems.

Type: Text Resource

Coral Reefs Show Remarkable Ability to Recover from Near Death:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. When corals are stressed, they release their algal partners and turn white, a phenomenon called coral bleaching. This occurs when they are under stress from warming waters or other environmental factors. Researchers monitored reefs in the Seychelles during and after coral bleaching events, and found that several factors, including depth of growth, branching shape, nutrient levels, and amount of fish grazing accurately predicted whether reefs were likely to recover from these events. Human impacts such as sediment or nutrient run-off also affect the corals' resiliency.

Type: Text Resource

The Indian River Lagoon: An Estuary of National Significance:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. What is the Indian River Lagoon?  Why is the lagoon an estuary of “national significance?” What are some of the environmental challenges the lagoon faces? These questions represent interesting and relevant content explored in this informative text about one of Florida’s most important estuaries. The text also has the potential to be used as an anchor text to segue into further areas of inquiry such as the role of water management districts, restoration initiatives, and the death of wildlife on the Indian River Lagoon.

Type: Text Resource

Climate's Troublesome Kids:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Did you know that climate has two not-so-nice children? Meet El Niño and La Niña, the "boy" and "girl" spawned by the global climate every 3-7 years. They can give the world a climate that's quite troublesome, depending on which one is causing the disturbance.

Type: Text Resource

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which summarizes the many environmental, climatic, social, and economic effects of global warming that are already occurring and will continue to take place. The report also predicts the environmental and socio-economic effects of climate change that will occur in the upcoming decades, especially those that will affect poorer countries.

Type: Text Resource

The Certainty of Climate Change:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Our Earth’s temperatures have increased over time and scientists are attributing this to human activities.

Type: Text Resource

Report: Polluted Farm Runoff Linked to Toxic Green Algae Slime in U.S. Waters:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes the causes and potential effects of toxin cyanobacteria blooms that have occurred in bodies of water in the United States. The blooms are affecting water quality, killing wildlife, and threatening human health (including causing death and illness) across the United States.

Type: Text Resource

In the Fog about Smog:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Smog began appearing in Los Angeles in the 1940s and became a problem for decades. Scientists were able to figure out the cause of smog only after intensive study of organic compounds in the air. After discovering that nitrogen oxides from car exhaust were a primary ingredient in smog, it took years of policy changes and industrial innovation to reduce air pollution and resolve the smog issue in LA and worldwide.

Type: Text Resource

What Happens to Shipping Containers Lost at Sea?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article examines how the marine environment is affected by shipping containers that accidentally fall to the seafloor. It explores how the containers can be harmful but can also be a benefit to the ecosystem depending on factors such as what the containers are carrying and what the containers are made of.

Type: Text Resource

Watching Our Seas Rise:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The collective efforts of many scientists enable us to measure how fast Earth's sea levels are rising, past and present. Presently, satellites are measuring sea levels and have showed significant increases in the last 20 years due to glacial melting and the expansion of sea water. Evidence from the past shows sea levels have risen and fallen steadily with the ice ages, until a sudden spike around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Coastal areas and islands are expected to be most affected by rising sea levels.

Type: Text Resource

With Data and Resolve, Tacoma Fights Pollution:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Rain and runoff carry pollutants from human activity to the sea in places like Tacoma, Washington. The city has devised a scientific process for identifying sources and pathways of pollution and is making headway in reducing pollutant buildup and damage. By utilizing forensic methods to find the source of pollution and fining polluters, Tacoma is winning the war.

Type: Text Resource

April Becomes First Month with Carbon Dioxide Levels Above 400 PPM:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses a troublesome milestone in climate science: the CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere stayed above 400 ppm for the entire month of April 2014. The article discusses the significance of this measurement and how CO2 levels impact the atmosphere.

Type: Text Resource

Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article explains the causes and locations of deforestation and explores the environmental consequences that occur because of the practice.

Type: Text Resource

What is the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch?:

The article explains the ocean garbage patches: what causes them, what consequences to marine life result from their presence, and what we can do about them. This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area.

Type: Text Resource

Oil Found in Gulf Beach Sand, Even after Cleanups:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses the unseen effects from the Gulf oil spill which lie beneath the surface of the "clean" sand along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Type: Text Resource

How Sinkholes Form:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how sinkholes form, ways to recognize impending sinkholes, and ways to prevent them.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorials

Underwater Evidence:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version. This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills within their science curriculum. This tutorial focuses on using specific textual evidence to support students' responses as they analyze science texts. The focus on literacy across content areas is designed to help students independently build knowledge in different disciplines through reading and writing.

Type: Tutorial

Interactive Carbon Lab:

This lab simulation will allow you to explore how carbon circulates through the environment. Through data collection and analysis, you will experiment with the impact that humans are having on the cycling of carbon and make data based predictions on how these impacts may change environmental outcomes to the year 2100.

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Introducing Green Chemistry: The Science of Solutions:

This lesson introduces students to Green Chemistry, the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or the generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry is a proactive approach to pollution prevention that teaches chemists how to develop products and materials in a manner that does not use hazardous substances, thus avoiding much waste, hazards and associated costs. The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and how they relate to a chemical process. These principles provide a framework for scientists, engineers and chemistry students to use when designing new materials, products, processes, and systems. The Principles focus on sustainable design criteria and have proven to be the source of innovative solutions to a wide range of problems. Through this lesson, students will also use weight and measurement to understand the concept of a recipe as it is applied to a chemical process and think critically about that process and how it might be improved. Students will be asked to use a wasteful, inefficient procedure to make glue and be challenged to improve the procedure-during which they will unknowingly use the 12 Principles. Before starting this lesson, students should have been introduced to the periodic table and properties of matter. The estimated time for this lesson is 50-60 minutes. 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Clean Park - Environmental MEA:

The environmental conditions in parks can influence the availability of food, light, space, and water and hence affect the growth and development of animals. It can become worse and lead to endangerment and extinction of various species. The following are areas in nature that can be affected: lakes, plants, animal life in and outside of water and many more.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Plants versus Pollutants Model Eliciting Activity:

The Plants versus Pollutants MEA provides students with an open-ended problem in which they must work as a team to design a procedure to select the best plants to clean up certain toxins. This MEA requires students to formulate a phytoremediation-based solution to a problem involving cleaning of a contaminated land site. Students are provided the context of the problem, a request letter from a client asking them to provide a recommendation, and data relevant to the situation. Students utilize the data to create a defensible model solution to present to the client.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Preserving Our Marine Ecosystems:

The focus of this MEA is oil spills and their effect on the environment. In this activity, students from a fictitious class are studying about the effects of an oil spill on marine ecosystems and have performed an experiment in which they were asked to try to rid a teaspoon of corn oil from a baking pan filled with two liters of water as thoroughly as possible in a limited timeframe and with limited resources. By examining, analyzing, and evaluating experimental data related to resource usage, disposal, and labor costs, students must face the tradeoffs that are involved in trying to preserve an ecosystem when time, money, and resources are limited.

SUSHI MANIA:

This MEA is designed to educate students about the biomagnification of mercury in aquatic ecosystems.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades 9-12

Methylmercury in the Everglades:

Explore the impact of methylmercury pollution in the Everglades wetland ecosystem.

Phosphorus in the Everglades:

Learn how phosphorus pollution can lead to changes in the Everglades. 

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorials

Phosphorus in the Everglades:

Learn how phosphorus pollution can lead to changes in the Everglades. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Methylmercury in the Everglades:

Explore the impact of methylmercury pollution in the Everglades wetland ecosystem.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Lesson Plan

The Surprising World of Complex Systems:

This lesson introduces students to complex systems and to basic concepts from the field of system dynamics that lie at the heart of systems thinking. These concepts include stocks and flows, feedback loops, unintended consequences, and the basic principle that the behavior of complex systems can best be understood by looking at the system as a whole, and specifically by analyzing the system’s underlying structure. The lesson introduces these topics through an immersion in (and a role-play simulation of) the dynamics of urban recycling systems, many of which have been thrown into crisis in the past two years. Through this current-affairs example of complex systems in crisis, we identify some key structural features that help to explain how these systems behave over time. We also discover how well-intentioned action can cause negative unintended consequences when we try to intervene in a complex system without understanding how it operates.

Type: Lesson Plan

Perspectives Video: Experts

MicroGravity Sensors & Statistics:

Statistical analysis played an essential role in using microgravity sensors to determine location of caves in Wakulla County.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Oil Spills and Biodiversity:

Do you think you know oil there is to know about human impact on the environment? Let this biologist explain.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Negative Impacts of Oil Spills:

Learn how the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution experts track oil-soaked sand patties on the Gulf Coast to monitor possible negative environmental impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Estimating Oil Seep Production by Bubble Volume:

You'll need to bring your computer skills and math knowledge to estimate oil volume and rate as it seeps from the ocean floor. Dive in!

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Tutorial

Interactive Carbon Lab:

This lab simulation will allow you to explore how carbon circulates through the environment. Through data collection and analysis, you will experiment with the impact that humans are having on the cycling of carbon and make data based predictions on how these impacts may change environmental outcomes to the year 2100.

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Introducing Green Chemistry: The Science of Solutions:

This lesson introduces students to Green Chemistry, the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or the generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry is a proactive approach to pollution prevention that teaches chemists how to develop products and materials in a manner that does not use hazardous substances, thus avoiding much waste, hazards and associated costs. The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and how they relate to a chemical process. These principles provide a framework for scientists, engineers and chemistry students to use when designing new materials, products, processes, and systems. The Principles focus on sustainable design criteria and have proven to be the source of innovative solutions to a wide range of problems. Through this lesson, students will also use weight and measurement to understand the concept of a recipe as it is applied to a chemical process and think critically about that process and how it might be improved. Students will be asked to use a wasteful, inefficient procedure to make glue and be challenged to improve the procedure-during which they will unknowingly use the 12 Principles. Before starting this lesson, students should have been introduced to the periodic table and properties of matter. The estimated time for this lesson is 50-60 minutes. 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Perspectives Video: Experts

Oil Spills and Biodiversity:

Do you think you know oil there is to know about human impact on the environment? Let this biologist explain.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Negative Impacts of Oil Spills:

Learn how the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution experts track oil-soaked sand patties on the Gulf Coast to monitor possible negative environmental impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Estimating Oil Seep Production by Bubble Volume:

You'll need to bring your computer skills and math knowledge to estimate oil volume and rate as it seeps from the ocean floor. Dive in!

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Oil Spill Cleanup Kits:

Wade into science with students by cleaning up model oil spills!

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea