Lesson Plans

Below are various lesson plans created by community members to incorporate OOI datasets into their courses in various ways. We hope these will be useful and even inspire you to create your own!

 

Lesson Plans utilizing interactive Data Explorations

Factors Affecting Primary Productivity
By Jean Anastasia, Suffolk County Community College, Data Labs 2020 Fellow

Many students have a preconceived misconception that temperature is the most important factor controlling primary productivity in the ocean.  In this lab activity, students discover how patterns of primary productivity correlate with nutrient levels and light levels – and not with temperature.  Using real oceanographic data allows students to  uncover important trends despite the variability of data, as well as gain the experience of analyzing scientific data.

For teaching tips about this lab, and a video overview by the author, please refer to this Data Labs blog entry: Guiding Student Exploration of Primary Productivity.

 

Dynamic Air-Sea Waves Lab
By Melissa Hicks, Onondaga Community College, Data Labs 2020 Fellow

This lab activity utilizes datasets from the NDBC and the OOI to guide students in creating and evaluating a hypothesis to explain a “data mystery” involving waves, wind and currents. Students must untangle the data and rely on their prior knowledge of atmospheric conditions.

For teaching tips about this lab, and a video overview by the author, please refer to this Data Labs blog entry:  Building Student Confidence by Investigating Bomb Cyclone Data.

 

Chlorophyll-a in Temperate Zones of the Ocean
By Sara Smith, Bellingham Technical College, Data Labs 2020 Fellow

This lesson plan and student worksheet connect coastal primary production to fisheries productivity so students understand how this information can be used to make natural resource management decisions. It reinforces oceanographic concepts such as how chlorophyll-a concentrations can be used to measure primary production and how primary production is linked with other coastal processes, such as upwelling.

For teaching tips about this lab, and a video overview by the author, please refer to this Data Labs blog entry: Linking Chlorophyll-a to Fisheries Productivity.

 

CO2 and Ocean Acidification
By Natasha Gownaris, Gettysburg College, Data Labs 2020 Fellow

This lesson plan and student worksheet explores ocean acidification off the coast of Oregon. Students use online data interactives to build connections across oceanographic disciplines – physics (upwelling, wind patterns), chemistry (dissolved gases, pH), and biology (photosynthesis, acidification impacts, fisheries).

For teaching tips about this activity, and a video overview by the author, please refer to this Data Labs blog entry: Facilitating Active Learning and Bridging Oceanographic Concepts by Exploring Ocean Acidification.

 

Plate Tectonics and the Seafloor
By Meg Blome, East Carolina University, Data Labs 2020 Fellow

This in-class guided activity utilizes two tectonic-themed Data Explorations to explore the frequency and causes of seafloor earthquakes. By exploring and then analyzing oceanographic map data, students discover and then dispel their own misconceptions.

For an overview of this activity and teaching tips from the author, please refer to this Data Labs blog entry: Enhancing Lectures with Interactive Data Explorations.

 

Exploring Primary Productivity, SERC Teach the Earth Collection, 2021
By Catherine Hill, Arizona Western College; Data Labs Community Member

Interacting with Data: Using interactive on-line graphs and datasets collected from seven oceanic arrays using hundreds of instruments, students can explore the relationships between chlorophyll production and multiple variables. They record their observations and extrapolate generalizations.

 


TOS Oceanography Lesson Plans

The following lesson plans were featured in the Oceanography article Using Authentic Data from NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative in Undergraduate Teaching: An Invitation by C. Greengrove et al.

  • Sample Primary Productivity Lesson
  • OOI Irminger Sea Data Activity Worksheet
  • Sample Salinity, Temperature, Density and Stratification Activity
  • Sample Axial Seamount Lesson

You can find the lessons on our TOS Oceanography Lesson Plans page


Community Contributions

Fun With Analyzing Ocean Data, 2020
Katie McDonnell, Rutgers University Undergraduate Student

In this example Data Worksheet activity, students explore a week, a month, a year, and over 10 years of Sea Surface Temperature data from a coastal station in Atlantic City, and they can also compare the data from that station to more data from Key West. This worksheet is available both as a document and as a Python notebook for easy adaption to other time periods or stations.