PLAN: STOPPING THE DEMISE OF THE WORLD'S CORAL REEFS
By Lisa Prososki, a former middle and high school teacher of social studies, English, reading, and technology
Time: Three 50-minute class periods plus additional time for presentations and extension activities
to National Standards
1. Using individual computers or a computer connected to a projection system, introduce students to coral reefs by visiting http://www.coralfilm.com/scien.html and click on Learning About Reefs. From the drop down menu, choose "The Virtual Reef". Here, students can see what a coral reef actually looks like. In addition, they can learn about various types of coral and sea creatures that depend on the reefs. The virtual reef also briefly discusses some of the species that are endangered and/or protected at this time.
2. Now that students have had a chance to see and learn a little about coral reefs, have them participate in a scavenger hunt using the same Web site as a resource. In the Learning About Reefs drop down menu, have students choose "About Coral and Coral Reefs". Students can work in pairs or small groups to find the answers to the questions on the Reef Scavenger Hunt Worksheet. Give students 10-15 minutes to complete the scavenger hunt.
Once the scavenger hunt has been completed, facilitate a class discussion about
the questions on the worksheet. Have students share their answers with the group.
Use this as an opportunity to teach students about symbiosis and the importance
of coral reefs in keeping the entire ocean ecosystem balanced. In addition, discuss
with students the direct impact coral reefs have on humans, particularly as a
means of providing food and medicine. Take time to discuss the following question
with students so they can understand why this
4. Now that students have learned a little about coral reefs, they are ready to further examine what causes the destruction of coral reefs. Begin by having students watch the segment from NewsHour entitled: Scientists Tap Reefs for Medical Discoveries. As they view, have students pay particular attention to answering the following questions. These should be posted on the board or overhead so all students can see them. Encourage students to take notes as needed so they can participate in a discussion following the viewing.
5. After viewing, take time to discuss the answers to the questions. Use specific examples from the program to answer each question.
6. Once discussion has been completed, have students go on a fact-finding mission. Their goal is to use scientific resources and science based information sources to create a project display and presentation that addresses specifically what can be done to preserve the world's coral reefs, actions that all people can take to preserve the reefs, and creates awareness about why this environmental problem should be one that all people take an interest in. Using the Save the Coral Reefs Research Worksheet, have students collect and record their data in pairs or small groups. Next, have them organize this data into some sort of display or presentation. Finally, have them present their findings to others in a way that communicates the message quickly, clearly, and effectively.
7. When all groups have finished the assignment they should present their display and their message to other students in the classroom to share what they have learned and how people can be actively involved in preserving the world's coral reefs.
1. Conduct a school-wide awareness campaign to tell others about the devastation to the world's coral reefs. Have each pair/group of students visit another classroom to share their presentation and public awareness campaign or make a presentation in the form of a school assembly or school news broadcast or newspaper story.
Have students conduct further research into the possibility of using the substances
and organisms found in coral reefs for medical purposes. Using the drug AZT used
to treat HIV as an example, have students investigate the possibility of using
coral reef life to develop everything from sunscreen and painkillers to cancer
fighting drugs. Invite a local scientist or expert to visit the classroom to discuss
this possibility, or use e-mail to correspond with scientists currently researching
this area to gather information.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com.
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