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Ocean School is best used by middle or high school life science classes. Additionally, students in science or marine biology clubs could use this tool as a way to launch their after-school adventures. Teachers could use the North Atlantic big question "How can we contribute to healthy habitats?" as the driving question for a whole-class inquiry adventure. Place this on your wall to build a Driving Question board. Allow students to add sticky notes to the board with their own ideas and questions. Cluster the notes into themes that can be used to drive your unit.
In order to participate in the adventure, students are asked to create a free login. The teacher tools are still not developed, but the website describes plans to use Google Classroom resources in the future. Currently, when students begin an adventure, they can sign in to their Google account and automatically save the activities to an Ocean School folder in their Google Drive. At the end of each Google document, students are asked to share their completed work with their teacher. Kids can also follow pairing directions to link their personal electronic devices and continue working on tasks beyond the classroom.Continue reading Show less
Ocean School's mission is to develop ocean citizens who understand how humans impact the ocean and in turn how the ocean impacts humans. The site uses compelling real stories paired with opportunities for students to make a difference. Currently, there's one digital "adventure" that students can take, with plans for two more. Adventures are led by university students and a scientist, Dr. Boris Worm.
Students create their own flag to represent them on their adventures. Then students watch a video to learn about the North Atlantic habitat. Kids are next asked to "Take Action" and build a plan to take action in their own local habitats.
Through Ocean School, kids are encouraged to take action in their own environment. Isabelle, a college student, shares how she participated in a shoreline cleanup at one of her favorite study spots. She asks students to make a plan and share their results. Woven throughout the resources is an empowering sense of optimism about our ability to solve our ecological challenges. This reinforces the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) content standard that while humanity faces major global challenges, they can be addressed through technology and engineering.
Ocean School provides an introductory video that describes how students can pick an area of interest to explore in an inquiry-based experience. However, currently, students are provided with just one possible overarching big question: "How can we contribute to healthy habitats?" Ocean School has potential, but more work needs to be done -- and activities added -- before it reaches the level of interactive resources provided by other sites like Nova Labs or citizen science tools such as Project Noah.
Key Standards Supported
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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