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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stand Up for Science: Lessons on Ocean Acidification from the Agua Hedionda Lagoon


Climate science has been a hallmark discipline at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and other oceanographic institutions for decades. However, despite the dedication from researchers to investigate the connections between climate science and ocean health, people outside the scientific community are largely unaware of climate-related ocean health issues like ocean warming and ocean acidification.  And yet one demographic group seems especially interested in ocean health issues: teenagers. The goal of this capstone project was to communicate these scientific topics by developing educational tools that bring awareness of ocean acidification to the high school audience. Using the body of expert knowledge and resources at SIO, I developed a unit of curriculum consisting of four lesson plans aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These lesson plans provided teachers and students with background information on climate science and marine chemistry, included activities that demonstrate these concepts in action, and introduced teachers and students to a novel autonomous chemical sensor called the WavepHOx which – when attached to the bottom of a stand-up-paddleboard – can be used to collect data of finer resolution and greater spatial scales than similar chemical sensor platforms. These lesson plans were delivered to middle and high school science teachers in a two-day workshop held at the Birch Aquarium and included presentations from SIO researchers. The teachers spent two days in the classroom as well as one afternoon at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon for a chance to field-test the WavepHOx.

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