SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.
The Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack explores the unique and diverse ecosystem of the coral reef. The focus is on Standards and Benchmarks related to populations and ecosystems using coral reefs and their immediate environment as an example. Because the Standards and Benchmarks present the concepts of populations and ecosystems generically, without reference to a specific ecosystem or the organisms in the system, coral reefs are used to provide the context through which concepts in a marine ecosystem are explored.
Ideas For Use
SciPacks are discrete learning experiences teachers can use to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept. Each SciPack contains a collection of three to five free Science Objects, which provide an understanding of the science content that supports curricula requirements by providing a structured set of learning experiences through simulations and practice assessments. Science Objects challenge teachers to explore and explain real world phenomena. Science Objects are founded on the principle that learners must be challenged with a problem, observation, data, etc., in order to develop scientific understanding. Science Objects present problems, phenomena, demonstrations, and simulations utilizing inquiry-based learning.
In addition to comprehensive inquiry-based learning materials tied to Science Education Standards and Benchmarks, the SciPack includes the following additional components:
- common misconceptions, teaching resources and strand maps linking grade band appropriate content to standards.
- Access to one-on-one support via e-mail to content “Wizards”.
- Final Assessment which can be used to certify mastery of the concepts.
Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Living Reef
Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting
- Identify coral polyp structures and describe their functions.
- Describe photosynthesis in the coral environment.
- Describe the evolution of a typical reef system.
- Use the shape of an individual coral to identify its common name, and classify entire coral reef ecosystems based on shape and location.
- Describe the process of coral polyp reproduction and growth.
- Identify how the features and/or behavioral strategies of coral reef inhabitants enable them to survive in coral reef environments.
Coral Reef Ecosystems: Interdependence
- Identify the characteristics of an ecosystem, and describe the interdependence between biotic and abiotic features in an ecosystem.
- Describe how the following abiotic factors provide coral with the energy needed to survive and grow within their ecosystem: sunlight, water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.
- Describe the optimal environmental conditions for coral reef growth, and explain the process of coral reef development (including the role of available sunlight and calcium).
- Explain how the following environmental factors might affect coral ecosystems: increase in dissolved CO2, changes in global temperatures, increase in ocean water turbidity through water pollution.
Coral Reef Ecosystems: Ecosystems in Crisis
- Identify and label key components of food chains and food webs in a coral reef ecosystem.
- Describe key relationships among plants and animals in the coral reef ecosystem: predator and prey relationships, producer and consumer relationships, and symbiotic relationships (mutualism, commensalisms, parasitism).
- Recognize the direction that energy travels through food chains and food webs.
- Explain that materials (chemical elements) and natural resources are recycled in coral reef ecosystems and reappear in different forms.
- Describe the primary ecological succession events within a typical coral reef ecosystem.
- Describe ways in which human activities directly impact coral reef ecosystems (resource and recreational uses).
- Describe ways in which human activities indirectly impact coral reef ecosystems (by changing the physical conditions, pollution, changes in the water chemistry, etc.).
- Explain how human activity may decrease the reefs ability to recover from natural occurrences.
- Explain the effects of increased predation or disease on a reef ecosystem.
- Describe the effect of habitat loss on the reef ecosystem.
- Describe the effects of weather and climate change on a healthy and weakened reef ecosystem.
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|Intended User Role:||Elementary-Level Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
|Educational Issues:||Inquiry learning, Teacher content knowledge
|Resource Format:||application/x-shockwave-flash, audio/mp3, image/gif, image/jpeg, text/html, video/quicktime
|Installation Remarks:||Run the Science Objects System Check to ensure that your system is capable of viewing the simulations: http://ecommerce2.nsta.org/system_check/
|Requirements:||Requires Macromedia Flash Player and Apple Quicktime Player
State Standards Correlation
Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.