Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
• Explain what causes ocean acidification.
• Describe the negative effects that ocean acidification can have on coral reefs.
• Describe how the coral reefs in Palau are responding to water with a low pH.
• Explain the role coral reefs play in aquatic ecosystems and why it is important to study the effects that ocean acidification has on their survival.
• Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
• Determine the meaning of selected academic and domain-specific words in the text.
• Construct a written response that clearly establishes the main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
With regard to science content knowledge:
- To help students fully understand the text used in this lesson, students should be familiar with components of a coral reef ecosystem, including information on the types of organisms found there. The following site can be used to explore more about coral reef ecosystems.
- Students should have prior knowledge on the basics of the pH scale and the information it contains.
- Students should have a general understanding of ocean chemistry. The article does not discuss the actual reaction that occurs between water and carbon dioxide, but students should be aware of the chemistry occurring. If needed, the following page can provide background on the chemistry.
With regard to literacy skills:
- Students should have prior experience utilizing various vocabulary strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words in a text, including use of context clues and dictionary skills.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in the NSF article used in this lesson include a title, subtitle, headings, a photograph and caption.
- Based on the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), a body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and includes relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
1. What harm does ocean acidification have on coral and other marine organisms?
When carbon dioxide reacts with ocean water, it causes the pH to decrease, and the process is referred to as ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is detrimental to coral reefs in a variety of ways, including loss of biodiversity, decrease in growth, excess algae growth, and lack of skeleton formation in juvenile coral. Ocean acidification also affects other marine organisms that use carbonate to make their shells or skeletons.
2. What is unique about the coral reefs in Palau?
The coral reefs of Palau surprised the scientists by displaying none of the predicted responses usually seen in coral growing in water with a lower pH. The coral reefs had a variety of organisms living in the area and were also widespread. The only negative effect they saw was an increase in bio-erosion, which is an erosion process caused by living organisms.
3. Why is it important for scientists to understand how ocean acidification affects coral reefs?
Coral reef ecosystems have some of the highest biodiversity in the world. Although they are found in only a small portion of oceans, they host over a quarter of all marine life. As climate change and global warming continues, it is important to find organisms that can and will be successful in the changing environment. By studying coral reefs that are thriving in conditions that mimic future projections of ocean acidification, scientists can learn what makes these coral unique.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
1. Begin the lesson by asking students: What is the pH scale and what does it measure? Most students should be familiar with the pH scale and can say it measures whether or not something is an acid or a base. It has a range from 1-14. If a solution is under 7 it is called an acid, a pH of 7 is referred to as a neutral solution, and a pH above 7 is a base. Have students visit the following page if they have questions about the pH scale. If students have had chemistry, they will be more familiar with the actual definitions of an acid and a base. For this article, it is not necessary. However, remind them that the pH scale is logarithmic and the implications that has with ocean acidification. Depending on the amount of chemistry teachers wish to discuss, the following CPALMS video could be used to go into much greater depth with the pH scale.
2. Next, ask students: How can pH affect living organisms? Many will be able to explain that most organisms have a limited range of a pH in which they are successful. Most students will know a shift of pH that is too high or too low can negatively affect organisms.
3. Ask the class what they know about ocean acidification and how it is caused. Have students view the following video that discusses ocean acidification. Discuss how climate change is lowering the pH of ocean waters worldwide. Students should recognize an increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossils fuels is the main cause of ocean acidification.
4. Ask students what type of impact ocean acidification is having on the coral reefs throughout the oceans. Many students should respond they are being negatively affected, and because they are an important ecosystem, this can cause harm to organisms living in or near the reefs.
5. Finally, let the students know they will be reading an article where researchers have identified coral reefs that are thriving despite living in an area of low pH.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. Provide each student with a copy of the article "Coral Reefs Defy Ocean Acidification Odds in Palau."
2. Provide each student with a copy of the note-taking guide.
3. Have students fill out the note-taking guide as they read the text. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- Note: Based on the needs and skills of the students, teachers can increase or decrease the number of academic or domain-specific vocabulary students will define on the note-taking guide.
- For academic vocabulary, students will likely be able to use a variety of vocabulary strategies to define the meaning of the words. For domain-specific (in other words, subject-specific) vocabulary, students will typically need to draw on prior knowledge and use a dictionary to define the words.
4. If students struggle with determining the meaning of some of the selected vocabulary, teachers might use the following tips to help them on a few of the words:
- Archipelago (Paragraph 5): a chain or group of islands. Encourage students to use context clues. Remind them that context clues can sometimes come after a word is used. In the following sentence in the text it describes Palau's Rock Islands.
- Juvenile (paragraph 12): young. Encourage students to use a dictionary and look at the different definitions. Which definition can best be used to describe coral?
- Tsunami (paragraph 21): a large wave usually caused by underwater seismic activity. Encourage students to use context clues. The text lists three processes that coral can protect against: waves, storms, and tsunamis. Students should be able to determine a general idea of what a tsunami is based on these examples.
5. Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students’ understanding by collecting students’ completed note-taking guide, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key to help them assess students’ answers.
- For discussion on students’ answers to the defined vocabulary words, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to explain the meaning they determined for a word, but the strategy they used to arrive at that meaning. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct meaning of the word.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer back to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative assessment can come in the form of the following:
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting students' answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers can use the sample answer key to assess students' work.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the answer key for the text dependent questions.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
1. Before students complete the writing assignment for the summative assessment, review the responses to the text-dependent questions completed earlier by the students. Make sure the misconceptions are corrected and the key points (as found in the sample answer key) are discussed.
2. After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. Students who are struggling writers can benefit greatly from seeing a well-organized, detailed written response. The teacher could show the sample response on an overhead or with an LCD projector and discuss some of the following:
- Ask students to identify evidence from the text that helps explain why the study of the coral reefs in Palau is important and how the results were unexpected and significant.
- Ask students to identify accurate and effective use of domain-specific vocabulary throughout the response (e.g., fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, pH, ocean acidification, ecosystem, biodiverse, carbonate, species, alage, bio-erosion).
3. Have students use exit tickets to demonstrate their understanding of the science concepts presented in the article:
- I still have questions about these three science concepts…
- By reading this article I can now prove this scientific point…
- The three most important scientific ideas I gained from this article were…
1. Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. If teachers use the rubric provided with this lesson, students should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response, with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion. They can refer back to the text as they construct their response.
2. Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over the rubric with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
3. Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address.
The prompt: Use evidence from the text to explain why this study of coral reefs in Palau is important for other coral ecosystems and why the results from this study were unexpected and significant.
4. Teachers will use the rubric to individually assess student's responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting the Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson.
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for providing Feedback to Students can be found in the Independent Practice phase of the lesson where it says, "Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond." Additionally, students should receive verbal or written feedback on their completed note-taking guides and answers to the text-dependent questions before they begin the summative assessment.