Southeast Deep Coral Initiative: Exploring Deep-Sea Coral Ecosystems off the Southeast U.S.

Classroom Lessons

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.

How Do Your Corals Grow? (pdf, 737 KB)

Grade Level: 5-6
Focus: Growth and structure of Lophelia coral colonies (Life Science)

Students will plan and carry out an investigation using models to explain how the branching structure of Lophelia coral colonies may affect the corals’ ability to take in food; communicate results of this investigation and cite evidence to support inferences about the relationship between structure of Lophelia coral colonies and the feeding function of individual coral polyps; analyze and interpret data from photographic images and use concepts of proportion and scale to estimate the growth rate of Lophelia coral colonies.

Deep Gardens (pdf, 220 KB)

Grade Level: 5-6
Focus: Deep-sea coral reefs (Life Science)

Students compare and contrast deep-sea coral reefs with their shallow-water counterparts; describe three types of coral associated with deep-sea coral reefs; explain three benefits associated with deep-sea coral reefs; and explain why many scientists are concerned about the future of deep-sea coral reefs.

Easy as Pi (pdf, 287 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.

Lessons from the Deep: Exploring the Gulf of Mexico's Deep-Sea Ecosystems Education Materials Collection

Grade Level: 5-12

A selection of lessons from 11 NOAA Office of Ocean Explortaion and Research-sponsored expeditions to explore deep-sea organisms and ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, plus lessons and additional background on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout event.