Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
With the establishment of the Ocean Exploration Program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we have a great opportunity reach out in new ways to teachers, students, and the general public and share the excitement of daily discoveries while at sea and the science behind the exploration initiatives sponsored by NOAA. The Northwestern Hawaiian Island Expedition presents a unique opportunity to engage teachers and students as we journey to a world that few have seen in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists will be exploring an area that contains about 70 percent of all coral reefs in U.S. waters, an area consists of a remote chain of small islands and atolls that stretches for more than 1,000 nautical miles (nm) northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands. During the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Expedition, scientists will map submerged banks and seamounts in the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve using state-of-the-art undersea technologies.
Educators and scientists working with NOAA during October 2002 developed a series of lesson plans for students in Grades 5 12 that are specifically tied to the Northwestern Hawaiian Island Expedition. These lesson plans focus on cutting-edge ocean exploration and research, using state-of-the-art technology, aboard University of Hawaii's research vessel Kilo Moana.
Below are descriptions of lesson plans developed for students in Grades 512 specifically tied to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Expedition.
Each grade-level grouping includes activities that focus on the exploration and research being conducted as part of the Northwestern Hawaiian Island Expedition. In addition to being tied to the National Science Education Standards, the hands-on, inquiry-based activities include focus questions, background information for teachers, links to interesting Internet sites, and extensions. Web logs that document the latest discoveries and complement the lesson plans, complete with compelling images and video, will be sent back each day from sea. Teachers are encouraged to use the daily logs from the Northwestern Hawaiian Island Expedition, which are posted on this site, to supplement the lesson plans.
All of the lesson plans are available in pdf format, and may be viewed and printed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download a lesson plan, click on its title from the list below.
Islands, Reefs, and a Hotspot (8 pages, 248kb)
Focus: Formation of the Hawaiian archipelago (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe eight stages in the formation of islands in the Hawaiian archipelago and will be able to describe the movement of tectonic plates in the Hawaiian archipelago region. Students will also be able to describe how a combination of hotspot activity and tectonic plate movement could produce the arrangement of seamounts observed in the Hawaiian archipelago.
The Odd Couple (6 pages, 464kb)
Focus: Symbiotic relationships (Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to define and describe symbiotic, mutualistic, commensal, and parasitic relationships between organisms and will be able to describe the benefits of a mutualistic relationship between hermit crabs and sea anemones.
Mapping Deep-sea Habitats in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (7 pages, 352kb)
Focus: Bathymetric mapping of deep-sea habitats (Earth Science - This activity can be easily modified for Grades 5-6)
In this activity, students will be able to create a two-dimensional topographic map given bathymetric survey data, will create a three-dimensional model of landforms from a two-dimensional topographic map, and will be able to interpret two- and three-dimensional topographic data.
Hawaiian Bowl! (14 pages, 14kb)
Focus: Unusual or unique features that characterize the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and their associated deep-sea environment. (Life Science/Physical Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe the movement of tectonic plates in the Hawaiian archipelago region, describe how a combination of hotspot activity and tectonic plate movement could produce the arrangement of seamounts observed in the Hawaiian archipelago, and describe the importance and distinguishing features of precious corals. Students will also be able to discuss the reasons for the endangered status of the Hawaiian monk seal and describe at least three preliminary findings from the 2002 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Expedition.
Lights in the Deep (6 pages, 468kb)
In this activity, students will be able to describe, compare, and contrast bioluminescence, fluorescence, phosphorescence, and chemiluminescence; and students will be able to explain the role of three major components of bioluminescent systems. Students will also be able to explain how at least three organisms use bioluminescence, and will discuss at least three practical applications of knowledge about bioluminescence and how this knowledge may benefit humans.
Seals, Corals and Dollars (4 pages, 456kb)
Focus: Ecological relationships and management of Hawaiian monk seals and precious corals
In this activity, students will be able to describe the ecological relationships between Hawaiian monk seals and deep-water precious corals, and will be able to describe and explain at least two different viewpoints on how monk seals and precious coral resources should be managed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Students will also be able to list at least four reasons that Hawaiian monk seals are endangered, describe a management strategy for monk seals and precious coral resources, and explain the rationale for this strategy.
Roots of the Hawaiian Hotspot (11 pages, 280kb)
Focus: Seismology and geological origins of the Hawaiian Islands (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to explain the processes of plate tectonics and volcanism that resulted in the formation of the Hawaiian Islands and will be able to describe, compare, and contrast S waves and P waves. Students will also be able to explain how seismic data recorded at different locations can be used to determine the epicenter of an earthquake and will infer a probable explanation for the existence of ultra-low velocity zones, and explain how these zones may be related to the Hawaiian hotspot.
Currents: Bad for Divers, Good for Corals (6 pages, 228kb)
Focus: The effect of bottom topography on deep-sea currents; the effect of currents on precious coral communities (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe, compare, and contrast major forces that drive ocean currents and discuss the general effects of topography on current velocity. Students will also be able to discuss how velocity affects the ability of a current to transport sand and explain why deep-sea precious corals are more frequently found in areas having strong currents.
For More Information
Please contact Paula Keener-Chavis, National Education Coordinator for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration if you have questions about these lesson plans or if you need additional information about their development.
Contact Paula Keener-Chavis,
Director, Education Programs
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration
Other lesson plans developed for this Web site are available in the Education Section.
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