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. These lesson plans were created by faculty to incorporate OOI datasets into their courses in various ways.

Sample Primary Productivity Lesson
Developed by Anna Pfeiffer-Herbert, Hilary Palevsky and Silke Severmann
This activity uses chlorophyll time series from several OOI arrays to investigate variability in primary production. The basic activity was designed for an Introduction to Oceanography course. We also provide examples of extending the basic activity to upper-level students. For the primary activity, students should be familiar with photosynthetic primary production, limiting factors for primary production in the ocean, and the concept of using chlorophyll-a concentration to indicate phytoplankton biomass.

OOI Irminger Sea Data Activity Worksheet
Developed by Hilary Palevsky and Sage Lichtenwalner
This jigsaw activity was designed for intermediate or upper-level undergraduate courses based on Palevsky and Nicholson (2018). This activity was also tested at OOI Data Labs workshops for undergraduate professors. To conduct the jigsaw activity, divide students into three groups (or multiples of three). Each group examines one jigsaw piece: Temperature, chlorophyll, or dissolved oxygen. The groups then reconfigure to have one “expert” from each original group and then answer prompts (under Bringing it Together) to identify seasonal patterns in all three parameters.

Sample Salinity, Temperature, Density and Stratification Activity
Developed by Cheryl Greengrove, Julie Masura and Mikelle Nuwer
This activity examines the impact of temperature and salinity on density and stratification through hands on activities and demonstrations, as well as explores the processes that effect salinity in both space and time using real-world OOI data. This activity is designed for an Introduction to Oceanography course and implemented after lecture, demonstration and discussion of impact of temperature and salinity on density and stratification. Concepts of thermocline, halocline and pycnocline should be introduced prior to or as part of beginning lab demonstrations and activities. This activity is typically run in a 3 hour lab period and requires that students have access to laptops and the internet.

Sample Axial Seamount Lesson
Developed by Anna Pfeiffer-Herbert
This activity uses bottom pressure data from the Axial Seamount cabled array to examine the dynamic nature of the seafloor before, during and after an eruption. It was designed for an Introduction to Oceanography course and implemented after discussion of plate tectonics and plate boundary features. Students should be familiar with reading time series graphs and bathymetric maps.