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Estuarine and Coastal Processes Activities
Grade Topic/Title Overview Keywords
 K-3 The Weight of Water Students will discover that salt water is more dense than fresh water density, salt water, fresh water
 2-8 Sinking Races Students will build plankton models and compete to see which sinks most slowly. marine biology, phytoplankton, zooplankton, photic zone, aphotic zone, surface area
 2-10 The Unseen Ocean Floor Students will build ocean floor structures, then map and model an unfamiliar ocean floor. geological oceanography, bathymetry (ocean floor topography), sea floor features, sonar, depth sounding,
 3-8 Sea Secrets

Identify some of the features of the ocean, including a continental shelf, a deep ocean plain, a trench, and a mid-ocean ridge. Draw a profile of the ocean using data points.  Infer the conditions of some undersea locations.

sea floor, identification, oceanography,
 4-12 Salinity Salinity is the concentration of dissolved salts in water, usually expressed in "parts per thousand" (ppt). Objects float higher in salt water than fresh water because salt water is denser (heavier per unit of volume). Density, hydrometer, meniscus, refractometer, specific gravity
 5-12  pH During this activity, students learn to use a Colorimetric test to measure pH and gain an understanding of pH and its importance to life in an aquatic ecosystem Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, buffer, reagent,
 6-12 Density Dynamics Students set up working models demonstrating lake turnover and the formation of deep water masses in the oceans. Density, stratification, turnover, properties of water, ocean circulation, nutrient supply in aquatic systems, aquatic life
 6-12 Stacking Water Students will use clear straws to stack colored water of different salinities. density, salinity, stratification, characteristics and interactions of ocean water masses
 6-12 Beach Profiling Waves, wind and currents shape the beach redistributing tons of sand each day.  During this activity, students gether data that measures the surface of the beach using a method that stimulates the way marine scientists and coastal geologists study our dynamic beaches. beach, berm, backshore, dune, foreshore, littoral drift, longshore current, nearshore
 7-9 Yo-Yos, Tow-Yos and pH, Oh My! Locating hydrothermal vents Tow-yo, conductivity, salinity, CTD, sampling bottle, pH, acidic, basic, hydrothermal vent, Galapagos Islands, plumes, hydrothermal, white smokers, black smokers, vents, molten, crust, ionization
 7-9 Hurricanes

Describe when and where hurricanes form.  Describe what is necessary for hurricanes to strengthen.
Describe what parts of the hurricane are most damaging.

 
 7-9 El Nino

Explain what El Nino is, where it is located, and how it occurs.  Describe the weather changes caused by El Nino.  Draw El Nino patterns on a world map.

 
 7-9 Ocean Currents


Relate direction given in degrees to compass direction.  Describe floats used in ocean current research.  Estimate current speed from scaled graphical representations.

 
 7-9 Ocean Temperatures

List data collected by marine buoys.  Describe how data is transmitted worldwide.  Explain the differences between near-shore and offshore air and water temperatures.

 
 9-12 Paleoclimatological Proxies

Students will be able to explain the concept of paleoclimatological proxies.  Students will learn how oxygen isotope ratios are related to water temperature.  Students will be able to interpret data on oxygen isotope ratios to make inferences about climate and climate change in the geologic past.

Seamounts, Guyots, Microbial species, Habitats, Deep sea corals, Reefs, Fisheries, Carbonate ions, Oxygen isotopes, Proxies, Rare oxygen isotope, Common oxygen isotope, Delta values, D (x), Productivity
 9-12 Tides Lesson: Ups and Downs Students will be able to explain and model forces that cause and affect tides. Students will be able to analyze variations in tidal patterns and water levels in selected areas, and infer and discuss some conditions that may have influenced these variations. Students will be able to describe how tides affect our lives and explain the importance of monitoring tides. tide, tidal current, ebb, flood, spring tide, neap tide, perihelion, aphelion, perigee, apogee, lunar cycle
 9-12 Designing Tools for Ocean Exploration


Students will understand the complexity of ocean exploration.  Students will understand the technological applications and capabilities required for ocean exploration.  Students will understand the importance of teamwork in scientific research projects.  Students will develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.

Core Sample, Sediment, Submersible, Topography, SpeciesExploration, Deployment, Retrieval, Sample, Grid, Foraminiferans, Crustaceans, Infauna, Interstitial water, Diversity, Habitat, Biotechnology, Chief Scientist, Principal Investigator (PI), Technician, Chain of Command, Mission, Mission Log, Dive Log
 9-12 Dive In!

Students will be able to explain Archimedes’ Principle, and explain how this principle applies to scientists working underwater.  Students will be able to identify the source of atmospheric and underwater pressure, and explain how these pressures vary with altitude and depth.  Students will be able to identify two ways in which light is affected when it passes through water.

coral reef, SCUBA, buoyancy, neutral buoyancy, buoyancy compensator, pressure, absolute pressure, bends, Boyle’s Law, refraction, normal, turbidity, color, absorption
 9-12 Tides and Lunar Cycles: The Moon Made Me Do It!

Students will be able to explain forces that cause and affect tides.  Students will be able to discuss some of the effects in living organisms that have been attributed to lunar cycles, and explain in general terms how these effects might be produced.  Students will be able to describe investigations that could be done to determine whether lunar cycles affect specific phenomena in living organisms

Tide, Tidal current, Ebb, Flood, Spring tide, Neap tide, Perihelion, Aphelion, Perigee, Apogee, Lunar cycle, Lunar effects
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UNC Coastal Studies Institute
UNC Coastal Studies Institute
850 NC 345, Wanchese, NC 27981 tel. 252-475-5400 fax 252- 475-3545