Investigating the Charleston Bump Education

Investigating the Charleston Bump


Education

The Charleston Bump Expedition presents a unique opportunity to engage explorers of all ages as we journey to a world that few have seen. Scientists using the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution’s research vessel Seward Johnson I and its submersible, the Johnson-Sea-Link, will explore the Charleston Bump, a unique deepwater rocky feature on the edge of the Blake Plateau about 83 nautical miles southeast of Charleston, SC. This feature restricts and deflects the Gulf Stream, creating a very dynamic environment consisting of complex swift currents where fish and invertebrates are found in association with unique bottom features, including scours, scarps, and caves.

Educators and scientists working with NOAA during July 2003 developed a series of lesson plans for students in Grades 5 – 12 that are specifically tied to this expedition. These lesson plans focus on adaptations of benthic organisms to deep water, hard substrates, and strong currents; the effect of water currents on food capture in corals; spatial heterogeneity in deep-water coral communities; and structural complexity in benthic habitats to name a few of the topics.

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 from sea during the mission. Teachers are encouraged to use the mission logs to supplement the lesson plans.

The lesson plans are grouped into the following categories:
Grades 5-6
Grades 7-8
Grades 9-12 (chemical, biological, earth, and physical science)

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.


Grades 5-6

A Piece of Cake (4 pages, 244k)
Focus: Spatial heterogeneity in deep-water coral communities (Life Science)

In this activity, students will be able to explain what a habitat is, describe at least three functions or benefits that habitats provide, and describe some habitats that are typical of deep-water hard bottom communities. Students will also be able to explain how organisms, such as deep-water corals and sponges, add to the variety of habitats in areas such as the Charleston Bump.

Easy as Pi (4 pages, 240k)
Focus: Structural complexity in benthic habitats (Life Science/Mathematics)

In this activity, students will be able to describe the importance of structural features that increase surface area in benthic habitats and quantify the relative impact of various structural modifications on surface area in model habitats. Students will also be able to give examples of organisms that increase the structural complexity of their communities.


Grades 7-8

It’s OK To Be a Clod, (5 pages, 252k)
Focus: Principles of solubility and measurements of water currents (Physical Science/Earth Science)

In this activity, students will be able to describe factors that affect the solubility of a chemical substance in seawater and explain how information on the solubility of a substance can be used to measure water currents.

How Am I Supposed to Eat THAT? (4 pages, 248k)
Focus: Feeding adaptations among benthic organisms (Life Science)

In this activity, students will be able to describe at least three nutritional strategies used by benthic organisms typical of deep-water coral communities and describe physical adaptations associated with at least three nutritional strategies used by benthic organisms.


Grades 9-12

A Tough Neighborhood (4 pages, 244k)
Focus: Adaptations of benthic organisms to deep water, hard substrates, and strong currents (Life Science)

In this activity, students will be able to describe at least three attributes of the deep ocean physical environment that are radically different from ocean habitats near the sea surface and explain at least three morphological or physiological adaptations that allow organisms to survive in the physical environment of the deep ocean. Students will also be able to identify at least three organisms with adaptations to the deep ocean environment that are found (or may be found) on the Charleston Bump.

Feeding in the Flow (6 pages, 268k)
Focus: Effect of water currents on feeding efficiency in corals (Life Science)

In this activity, students will be able to describe at least two ways in which current flow may affect the feeding efficiency of particle-feeding organisms and explain how interactions between current flow and the morphology of a particle-feeding organism may affect the organism’s feeding efficiency. Students will also be able to identify at least two environmental factors in addition to current flow that may affect the morphology of reef-building corals.

Keep It Complex! (5 pages, 272k)
Focus: Effects of habitat complexity on biological diversity (Life Science)

In this activity, students will be able to describe the significance of complexity in benthic habitats to organisms that live in these habitats and will describe at least three attributes of benthic habitats that can increase the physical complexity of these habitats. Students will also be able to give examples of organisms that increase the structural complexity of their communities and infer and explain relationships between species diversity and habitat complexity in benthic communities.

Eddies, Gyres, and Drowning Machines (5 pages, 256k)
Focus: Effects of bottom topography on currents (Physical Science/Earth Science)

In this activity, students will be able to describe at least three types of effect that physical obstructions may have on water flowing past the obstructions, explain at least three ways in which current flow can be significant to benthic organisms, and explain how physical obstructions to current flow can create hazardous swimming conditions.


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.