Discovering Deep Sea Corals of the Phoenix Islands

Classroom Lessons from OER

Classroom lessons and learning tools relevant to the expedition are listed below by grade level. Although some of these resources may have been developed for past expeditions conducted in other regions of the world ocean, the Focus Questions and Student Learning Objectives are applicable to the current expedition.

Grades 6-8

Easy as Pi (PDF, 273 KB)

Grade Level: 5-6
Focus: Structural complexity in coral reef communities (Life Science/Mathematics)

Students describe the importance of structural features that increase surface area in coral reef habitats; quantify the relative impact of various structural modifications on surface area in model habitats; and give examples of organisms that increase the structural complexity of their communities.

To Make an Archipelago! (PDF, 419 KB)

Grade Level: 6-8
Focus: Formation of the Hawaiian Archipelago (Physical Science/Life Science)
From the Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters Off Hawaii Expedition 2015

Students describe eight stages in the formation of islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago and how a combination of hotspot activity and tectonic plate movement could produce the arrangement of seamounts observed in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Students also construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how a combination of hotspot activity and tectonic plate movement could produce the distributions of cobalt-rich ferromanganese resources found in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Grades 9-12

Round and Round (pdf, 290 KB)

Grade Level: 9-12
Focus: Circulation cells in the vicinity of seamounts (Earth Science)
From the 2002 Mountains in the Sea Expedition.

Students interpret data from a three-dimensional array of current monitors to infer an overall pattern of water circulation; hypothesize what effect an observed water circulation pattern might have on seamount fauna that reproduce by means of floating larvae; and describe the importance of measurements to verify theoretical predictions.

Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crust Ecosystems (pdf, 397 KB)

Grade Level: 9-12
Focus: Ecosystems associated with cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts (Earth Science)
From the Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaii Expedition 2015.

Students define cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts, explain how they are formed, discuss their associated ecosystems, and discuss the positive and negative impacts of mining these mineral resources from the deep ocean. Students evaluate competing design solutions for protecting ecosystems associated with cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts from potential human impacts.

Deep Coral Communities: Sentinels of a Changing Ocean (PDF, 2.0 MB) 

Grade Level: 9-12
Focus: Species found in deep-sea coral communities, the threats that face them, and what individuals and communities can do help protect them.
From Deep Coral Communities Curriculum, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries.

Students will be able to describe the physical and biological components of the deep sea in the five national marine sanctuaries on the West Coast; experience the challenges associated with identifying species and recording data taken with ROVs; explain how scientists analyze data by using species diversity and abundance from recorded video; explain the importance of characterizing habitat and be able to describe the various habitat types found in deep-sea coral communities; understand the human caused threats that face deep-sea coral communities; and explain actions that individuals and communities can take to protect these special places.

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection

This lesson collection was developed to encourage educators and students to become personally involved with the voyages and discoveries of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer –America’s first Federal ship dedicated to ocean exploration. The Education Materials Collection is presented in two volumes:

  • Volume 1: Why Do We Explore? (Grades 5-12) - This volume of 16 lessons focuses on modern reasons for ocean exploration, providing background information on key topics of Ocean Exploration including Climate Change, Energy, Human Health, and Ocean Health.
  • Volume 2: How Do We Explore? (Grades 5-12) - This volume of 11 lessons focuses on modern exploration tools used aboard the ship: telepresence, multibeam sonar, water column investigations and underwater robots.