Directions

Activity 1: Human Impacts on Marine Ecosystems

Photograph: Trash on a beach.

Students use a variety of media to discuss and analyze human-related pressures placed upon marine ecosystems and resources.

Activity 2: An Imbalance in our Ocean

Students watch videos to examine ways that human actions can throw a marine ecosystem out of balance and lead to species decline. Then they brainstorm a list of stakeholders and generate questions about them.

Objectives

Subjects & Disciplines

Objectives

Students will:

  • identify and discuss the major threats and management priorities for the world ocean
  • describe the relationship humans have with marine resources and habitats
  • explain how human-related impacts affect the abiotic and biotic components of various marine ecosystems
  • identify human threats to marine ecosystems
  • identify stakeholders for each threat
  • ask relevant questions about the relationships between human threats and stakeholders

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Brainstorming
  • Cooperative learning
  • Discussions
  • Guided listening
  • Information organization
  • Multimedia instruction
  • Visual instruction

National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

  • Theme 3: People, Places, and Environments

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
  • Standard 14: How human actions modify the physical environment
  • Standard 18: How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future
  • Standard 8: The characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems and biomes on Earth's surface

National Science Education Standards

Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts

  • Principle 1f: The ocean is an integral part of the water cycle and is connected to all of the earth’s water reservoirs via evaporation and precipitation processes.
  • Principle 1g: The ocean is connected to major lakes, watersheds and waterways because all major watersheds on Earth drain to the ocean. Rivers and streams transport nutrients, salts, sediments and pollutants from watersheds to estuaries and to the ocean.
  • Principle 1h: Although the ocean is large, it is finite and resources are limited.
  • Principle 2c: Erosion—the wearing away of rock, soil and other biotic and abiotic earth materials—occurs in coastal areas as wind, waves, and currents in rivers and the ocean move sediments.
  • Principle 5i: Estuaries provide important and productive nursery areas for many marine and aquatic species.
  • Principle 6a: The ocean affects every human life. It supplies freshwater (most rain comes from the ocean) and nearly all Earth’s oxygen. It moderates the Earth’s climate, influences our weather, and affects human health.
  • Principle 6b: From the ocean we get foods, medicines, and mineral and energy resources. In addition, it provides jobs, supports our nation’s economy, serves as a highway for transportation of goods and people, and plays a role in national security.
  • Principle 6d: Much of the world’s population lives in coastal areas.
  • Principle 6e: Humans affect the ocean in a variety of ways. Laws, regulations and resource management affect what is taken out and put into the ocean. Human development and activity leads to pollution (such as point source, non-point source, and noise pollution) and physical modifications (such as changes to beaches, shores and rivers). In addition, humans have removed most of the large vertebrates from the ocean.
  • Principle 6g: Everyone is responsible for caring for the ocean. The ocean sustains life on Earth and humans must live in ways that sustain the ocean. Individual and collective actions are needed to effectively manage ocean resources for all.
  • Principle 7c: Over the last 40 years, use of ocean resources has increased significantly, therefore the future sustainability of ocean resources depends on our understanding of those resources and their potential and limitations.

Preparation

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Paper
  • Pencils

Background & Vocabulary

Background Information


Prior Knowledge

    Recommended Prior Lessons

    • None


    Vocabulary

    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

    choropleth map

    representation of statistical data, such as population, over a specific area using colors or patterns to represent types or intensity of data.

    marine ecosystem

    community of living and nonliving things in the ocean.

    stakeholder

    person or organization that has an interest or investment in a place, situation or company.

    Credits

    Media Credits

    The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

    Activity 1 Credits

    Writer

    Angela M. Cowan, Education Specialist and Curriculum Designer

    Editor

    Elizabeth Wolzak, National Geographic Society
    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society
    Julie Brown, National Geographic Society

    Educator Reviewer

    Elizabeth Wolzak, National Geographic Society
    Mark H. Bockenhauer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geography, St. Norbert College

    Expert Reviewer

    Sarah Wilson, National Geographic Society
    Julie Brown, National Geographic Society

    National Geographic Program

    2010 National Teacher Leadership Institute: Oceans

    Other

    Special thanks to the educators who participated in National Geographic's 2010-2011 National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA), for testing activities in their classrooms and informing the content for all of the Ocean: Marine Ecology, Human Impacts, and Conservation resources.

    Activity 2 Credits

    Writer

    Nancee Hunter
    Angela M. Cowan, Education Specialist and Curriculum Designer

    Editor

    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society
    Julie Brown, National Geographic Society
    Elizabeth Wolzak, National Geographic Society

    Educator Reviewer

    Mark H. Bockenhauer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geography, St. Norbert College
    Elizabeth Wolzak, National Geographic Society

    Expert Reviewer

    Sarah Wilson, National Geographic Society
    Julie Brown, National Geographic Society

    National Geographic Program

    2010 National Teacher Leadership Institute: Oceans

    Other

    Special thanks to the educators who participated in National Geographic's 2010-2011 National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA), for testing activities in their classrooms and informing the content for all of the Ocean: Marine Ecology, Human Impacts, and Conservation resources.

    User Permissions

    For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service.

    If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact natgeocreative@ngs.org for more information and to obtain a license.

    If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please visit our FAQ page.

    Media

    Some media assets (videos, photos, audio recordings and PDFs) can be downloaded and used outside the National Geographic website according to the Terms of Service. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the lower right hand corner (download) of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.

    Text

    Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.

    Interactives

    Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.