Ocean Data and Activities

Overarching Question:

How are the oceans responding to climate change?

Introductory Activities

Concept Map
Students gain an understanding of how large scale ocean processes are connected by drawing connections between ocean pools, processes, and the factors that influence them. Can be used to assess student prior knowledge.

    • Ocean Concept Map 

    • Ocean Concept Map Example
    • Ocean Concept Map Teachers Guide

Satellite Images 

Students learn how to interpret and understand ocean satellite images by determining seasonal patterns in sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration on printouts of monthly images of the U.S. East Coast from NASA's MODIS Aqua satellite.
    • Satellite Images Dataset
    • Temperature Profiles Dataset
    • Image Month Key 
    • Satellite Images Handout- Student Version
    • Satellite Images Handout- Teachers Version
    • Satellite Images Teachers Guide

Ocean Satellite Data Modules: 

Through the use of NASA's Data-enhanced Investigations for Climate Change Education (DICCE) portal, students gain hands-on experience using remotely sensed data in the classroom.  Step-by-step instructions walk students through the use of the DICCE portal tool to investigate various ocean processes.  Teacher version with suggested student answers are also available. All documents are PDFs.

1. Seasonal Cycles  Focus: What are the factors that control the patterns/cycles of phytoplankton growth in the North Atlantic Ocean?

        Seasonal Cycles- Student             Seasonal Cycles- Teacher

2. Major Boundary Currents
     Focus: How do western boundary currents influence climate and ocean productivity?

        Boundary Currents- Student        Boundary Currents- Teacher

3. Upwelling Zones     Focus: How does nutrient concentration and upwelling influence phytoplankton growth in the Benguela upwelling zone? 

        Upwelling- Student                        Upwelling- Teacher

4. The Southern Ocean     Focus: What are the seasonal environmental characteristics of the Southern Ocean?

        Southern Ocean- Student             Southern Ocean- Teacher

5. Inter-annual Variability    Focus: Patterns in sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration due to El Niño/La Niña events.

        El Niño- Student                             El Niño- Teacher

Data in the Classroom: Exploring Climate Change in the Oceans

An online resource developed by NOAA for exploring ocean processes through the use of real, scientific data.  Explore all curriculum models on the Data in the Classroom website

Ocean Acidification
Changing CO2 levels in the atmosphere can affect the chemistry of the oceans. In the Ocean Acidification module, students use real data to investigate the changing ocean chemistry and its effects on ocean life.

    • Explore the Ocean Acidification module online