Lesson Plans for the Bermuda: Search for Deep Water Caves 2009 Expedition

Educators and scientists working with NOAA developed a series of lesson plans for students in Grades 5 - 12 that are specifically tied to the science behind the Bermuda: Search for Deep Water Caves 2009 expedition. These lesson plans focus on cutting-edge ocean exploration and research using state-of-the-art technologies.

The lesson plans are grouped into the following categories:

Diamond Icon Grades 5-6
Diamond Icon Grades 7-8
Diamond Icon Grades 9-12 (Chemical, Biological, Earth, and Physical Science)
Diamond Icon Other Relevant Lessons

In addition to being tied to the National Science Education Standards and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts, 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 Bermuda: Search for Deep Water Caves 2009 expedition, which are posted on this site, to supplement the lesson plans.

Read a description of each lesson plan and/or download them to your computer. All of the lesson plans are available in a PDF format, and may be viewed and printed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader External Link. To download a lesson plan, click on its title from the listing below. (Note: if you have problems downloading one of these lessons, right-click on the link and save the lesson to your desktop.)

Grades 5-6

Call to Arms (PDF, 756 Kb)
Focus: Buoyancy (Physical Science)
In this activity, students will be able to define buoyancy, mass, volume, and density, and explain the relationships between these properties. Given the mass and volume of an object, students will be able to calculate the minimum buoyancy required to keep the object afloat in seawater. Students will also be able to explain why objects in seawater are more buoyant than the same objects in fresh water.

Cave Critters (PDF, 772 Kb)
Focus: Anchialine cave species (Life Science)
In this activity, students will describe anchialine habitats, describe the types of organisms that are typically found in these habitats, and discuss at least three ways in which some of these organisms have adapted to the unusual or unique features of these habitats.

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Grades 7-8

To Make a Cave (PDF, 700 Kb)
Focus: Geologic processes that form caves (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will compare and contrast solutional and volcanic caves, and discuss the geologic processes that form different types of caves.

Distant Relatives (PDF, 880 Kb)
Focus: Geologic processes that form caves (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will describe observations that suggest connections between widely separated anchialine cave populations, and discuss at least three theories that could explain these observations.

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Grades 9-12

Out of Darkness (PDF, 704 Kb)
Focus: Evolution of anchialine cave fauna
In this activity, students will describe anchialine cave habitats, discuss ways in which anchialine cave fauna are unusual, and compare and contrast four biogeographical models to explain observed distribution patterns of anchialine cave fauna.

Save Your Breath (PDF, 864 Kb)
Focus: Metabolic adaptations to low-oxygen environments and technical reading (Life Science)
In this activity, students will discuss the basis for hypothetical metabolic adaptations to low-oxygen environments, and will evaluate evidence from a research report that tests this hypothesis.

The Robot Explorer (PDF, 712 Kb)
Focus: Remotely operated vehicles for exploring anchialine caves (Physics/Earth Science/Technology)
In this activity, students will discuss remotely operated vehicles and onboard systems used for exploring anchialine caves, and will explain the design and construction process for a simple robot explorer.

Living Fossils (PDF, 740 kb)
Focus: Relict species (Life Science)
In this activity, students will define relict species, describe at least three examples of relict species associated with anchialine caves, and discuss why these caves may have unusually high proportion of relict and endemic species.

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Other Relevant Lesson Plans from NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Program

Grades 5-6

Shipwreck Explorers (PDF, 299 kb)
(from the Lophelia II 2008 Expedition)
Focus: Marine archaeology (Physical Science)
In this activity, students use data about the location and types of artifacts recovered from a shipwreck site to draw inferences about the sunken ship and the people who were aboard.

What's a Karst? (PDF, 299 kb)
(from the Submerged New World 2009 Expedition)
Focus: Limestone landforms and aquifers (Physical Science/Earth Science)
In this activity, students will compare and contrast igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and name examples of each. Students will define karst landforms, describe typical features of these landforms, explain processes that shape them, and discuss their relevance to aquifers.

Volcanoes, Plates, and Chains (PDF, 293k)
(from the Exploring Alaska's Seamounts 2002 Expedition)
Focus: Formation of seamounts the Axial-Cobb-Eikelberg-Patton chain, Gulf of Alaska
In this activity, students will be able to describe the processes that form seamounts, describe the movement of tectonic plates in the Gulf of Alaska region and explain the types of volcanic activity that might be associated with these movements, and describe how a combination of hotspot activity and tectonic plate movement could produce the arrangement of seamounts observed in the Axial-Cobb-Eikelberg-Patton chain.

Leaving Home (PDF, 352k)
(from the Mountains in the Sea 2004 Expedition)
Focus: Larval recruitment on New England seamounts (Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to explain the meaning of "larval dispersal" and "larval retention" and explain their importance to populations of organisms in the marine environment. Given data on recruitment of organisms to artificial substrates, students will also be able to draw inferences about larval dispersal in these species.

Grades 7-8

I, Robot, Can Do That! (PDF, 357k)
(from the 2005 Lost City Expedition)
Focus: Underwater robotic vehicles for scientific exploration (Physical Science/Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe and contrast at least three types of underwater robots used for scientific explorations, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using underwater robots in scientific explorations, and identify robotic vehicles best suited to carry out certain tasks.

Sonar Simulation (PDF, 308kb)
(from the Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies Expedition)
Focus: Side scan sonar (Earth Science/Physical Science)
In this activity, students will describe side-scan sonar, compare and contrast side-scan sonar with other methods used to search for underwater objects, and make inferences about the topography of an unknown and invisible landscape based on systematic discontinuous measurements of surface relief.

Biological Communities of Alaska Seamounts (PDF, 308kb)
(from the Exploring Alaska's Seamounts 2002 Expedition)
Focus: Biological communities of Alaska seamounts (Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to infer why biological communities on seamounts are likely to contain unique or endemic species, calculate an index of similarity between two biological communities given species occurrence data, make inferences about reproductive strategies in species that are endemic to seamounts, and explain the implications of endemic species on seamounts to conservation and extinction of these species.

Food Web Mystery (PDF, 308kb)
(from the Mountains in the Sea 2003 Expedition)
Focus: Food webs in the vicinity of seamounts (Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe typical marine food webs, explain why food is generally scarce in the deep-ocean environment, and discuss reasons that seamounts may be able to support a higher density of biological organisms than would appear to be possible considering food available from primary production at the ocean's surface.

Grades 9-12

Now Take a Deep Breath (PDF, 308kb)
(from the Submerged New World 2009 Expedition)
Focus: Physics and physiology of SCUBA diving (Physical Science/Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to define Henry's Law, Boyle's Law, and Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures, and explain their relevance to SCUBA diving; discuss the causes of air embolism, decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, and oxygen toxicity in SCUBA divers; and explain the advantages of gas mixtures such as Nitrox and Trimix and closed-circuit rebreather systems.

My Wet Robot (PDF, 300 kb)
(from the Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies Expedition)
Focus: Underwater robotic vehicles (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using underwater robots in scientific explorations, identify key design requirements for a robotic vehicle that is capable of carrying out specific exploration tasks, describe practical approaches to meet identified design requirements, and (optionally) construct a robotic vehicle capable of carrying out an assigned task.

No Escape (PDF, 300 kb)
(from the 2006 Exploring Ancient Coral Gardens Expedition)
Focus: Fate of benthic invertebrate larvae in the vicinity of seamounts (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to field data to evaluate an hypothesis about the influence of a water circulation cell on the retention of benthic invertebrate larvae in the vicinity of a seamount, and describe some potential advantages and disadvantages to species whose larvae are retained in the vicinity of seamounts where the larvae are produced. Students will also be able to describe the consequences of partial or total larval retention on the biological evolution of species producing these larvae.

Round and Round (PDF, 1Mb)
(from the Mountains in the Sea 2003 Expedition)
Focus: Circulation cells in the vicinity of seamounts (Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to interpret data from a three-dimensional array of current monitors to infer an overall pattern of water circulation, hypothesize what effect an observed water circulation pattern might have on seamount fauna that reproduce by means of floating larvae, and describe the importance of measurements to verify theoretical predictions.

Living in Extreme Environments (PDF, 1 Mb)
(from the 2003 Mountains in the Sea Expedition)
Focus: Biological Sampling Methods (Biological Science)
In this activity, students will understand the use of four methods commonly used by scientists to sample populations; understand how to gather, record, and analyze data from a scientific investigation; begin to think about what organisms need in order to survive; and understand the concept of interdependence of organisms.


For More Information

Contact:
Paula Keener-Chavis
Director, Education Programs
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Other lesson plans developed for this Web site are available in the Education Section.