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MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Podcasts, 12 minutes, 6 seconds
  • Podcasts, 10 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Lesson Plans
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus




The Ocean and Climate Change

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  • This resource about the changing ocean includes a lesson plan, two podcast episodes, a carbon dioxide absorption demonstration, discussion questions, interactive computer modeling, and an ocean literacy communication activity.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource gives teachers all the tools they need to teach a comprehensive mini-unit on climate change and the ocean.
  • The podcasts feature an informative and interesting interview with Dr. Slyvia Earle the Explorer-in-Residence for the National Geographic Society.

Additional Prerequisites

  • For the carbon dioxide demonstration, teachers will need a 500ml graduated cylinder, a funnel, a Petri dish cover, a clear basin that is shorter than the graduated cylinder, a stand and clamp, cold water, warm water, and 2-4 effervescent tablets (e.g. Alka-Seltzer).


  • Teachers could expand the ocean literacy communication activity into a school-wide project. Following the directions in the lesson plan, each homeroom or advisory group could choose one of the Ocean Literacy Principles to present to the school community.
  • Computer programming, design thinking, or engineering classes could use the section on Argo floats to discuss the engineering design process.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on ocean circulation patterns, this video about ocean acidification, and this lesson on oceans and climate change.
Scientist Notes
The resource contains 2 podcasts on the role of ocean in absorbing global temperatures, additional materials, and an educator guide for educators to apply when teaching this materials in their class. The ocean also plays a key role in carbon sequestration, however, further CO2 absorption by the ocean will have negative impacts on algae, coral reefs, and other marine resources.  This resource is ideal for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
    • LS2: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics Within Ecosystems
      • HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-5. Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
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