Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the second of four Science Objects in the Coral Reef Ecosystems SciPack. It investigates the abiotic characteristics that affect the coral reef ecosystem. The number and kinds of organisms found along each reef depend on the physical conditions of the environment and resources available, including food, light, water quality, temperature, and other organisms living in the reef. If conditions change significantly due to changes in climate, loss of food sources, excessive predation, or loss of habitat, the health and stability of the ecosystem will be affected. Like many complex systems, coral ecosystems tend to have cyclic fluctuations around a state of rough equilibrium. In the long run, if conditions remain reasonably constant a coral ecosystem can be stable for hundreds of years.
Ideas For Use
Science Objects are two hour learning experiences teachers can use to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept. Teachers can access any topic “on demand” from the Internet. Topics are based on the science literacy goals in the national standards (NSES, Science for All Americans, Benchmarks, and the Atlas of Scientific Literacy) and tied to state standards.
Each Science Object provides an understanding of the science content by providing a structured set of learning experiences through simulations and practice assessments. Science Objects challenge teachers to explore and explain real world phenomena and are founded on the principle that learners must be challenged with a problem, observation, data, etc., in order to develop scientific understanding. Science Objects utilize the five phases of inquiry-based learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.
Coral Reef Ecosystems: The Abiotic Setting
- 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.
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|Intended User Role:||Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
|Educational Issues:||Inquiry learning, Learning theory, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge
|Resource Format:||application/msword, application/pdf, 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.
||Good, but less of the stuff I like in Sci Objects
||David K on January 15, 2011
||First, I do want to state that I think using coral reefs to integrate and discuss many earth science and physical science concepts as abiotic factors is a good way of presenting this information. I think these are important concepts for a teacher of life sciences (at all school levels) to know. This object includes short overviews of sunlight, ocean temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen levels, turbidity, pressure, as well as the very basics of waves, tides, and currents. However, for such a variety of topics, there appeared to be fewer questions asked along the way as review and fewer interactives, which are the components that usually make me feel I’m not just reading a textbook online. This is the first science object that gave me more of that feeling. The only interactive is at the end and is basically a visual review question with minimal manipulatives where you have to adjust some of the abiotic factors to create optimal coral reef growth. Again, the info is varied an