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Open Access Publications from the University of California

De-Glooming Doom: Fun Ways to Teach About Human Impacts in the Marine Environment


The goal of this capstone project was to develop lesson plans that introduce five of the major anthropogenic impacts on the oceans. The tone is to remain educational, positive and  inspiring, rather than doom and gloom. The target audience is seventh to eighth grade, but can be easily modified to suit older or younger students. There are two sections for each category, one that provides instructors with a basic understanding of the topic and suggested readings, and a discovery activity. The discovery activity is divided into several sections: 1) Enduring Understanding- the big idea or core message you want students to remember years from now, 2) Important to Know and Do- key facts and actions  the student can take to avoid contributing to the impact described, and 3) Worthwhile Knowing- information that provides a deep understanding of the issue. The topics covered by the lesson plan include: ocean acidification, marine debris, noise pollution, overfishing and bycatch, and water pollution.

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