Please note: The following Exploration Education Module (EEM) was produced for the Exploring the Submerged New World 2009 Expedition, which provided the initial explorations leading scientists back for further explorations as part of the mission captured here. To compliment the EEM produced for educators in 2009, an additional lesson titled "Needles and Haystacks", has been developed specifically for the Exploring the Submerged New World 2011 Expedition.

Lesson Plans for Exploring the Submerged New World 2011

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 Exploring the Submerged New World 2009 and 2011 expeditions. 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:

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.

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 ReaderExternal 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.)

2011 Lesson Plan
(Grades 7-8, with adaptations for grades 5-6 and 9-12)

Needles and Haystacks (PDF, 552 Kb)
Focus: Underwater Archaeology (Life Science/Archaeology)
In this activitiy, students will be able to explain some techniques that archaeologists use to look for paleoamerican settlements on drowned shorelines, to infer and explain shoreline features that may be associated with paleoamerican settlements, and to describe how artifacts retrieved from sinkholes may be interpreted.

2009 Lesson Plans - Grades 5-6

What’s a Karst? (PDF, 548 Kb)
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.

The Pleistocene Zoo (PDF, 1 Mb)
Focus: Pleistocene Mammals (Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe at least three now-extinct Pleistocene mammals, and explain three theories for why extinction occurred.

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2009 Lesson Plans - Grades 7-8

Paleo-Diving (PDF, 552 Kb)
Focus: Underwater Archaeology of Sinkholes (Physical Science/Archaeology)
In this activity, students will be able to explain how sinkholes are formed, why they may be associated with paleoamerican settlements, and how artifacts retrieved from sinkholes may be interpreted.

We Arrived 10,000 Years Ago... (PDF, 592 Kb)
Focus: Lifeways of Paleoamericans (Archaeology/Anthropology)
In this activity, students will explain at least two ways that humans migrating from eastern Asia may have settled North and South America, and will make inferences about lifeways of paleoamericans based on an extant 10,000 year-old human culture in southern California.

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2009 Lesson Plans - Grades 9-12

The Robot Archaeologist (PDF, 764 Kb)
Focus: Marine Archaeology/Marine Navigation (Earth cience/Mathematics)
In this activity, students will design an archaeological survey strategy for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV); calculate expected position of the AUV based on speed and direction of travel; and calculate course correction required to compensate for the set and drift of currents.

Now Take a Deep Breath (PDF, 548 Kb)
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.

The Puzzle of the Ice Age Americans (PDF, 1.1 Mb)
Focus: Origin of the first humans in the Americas (Anthropology/Earth Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe alternative theories for how the first humans came to the Americas and explain the evidence that supports or contradicts these theories, explain how exploration of a submerged portion of the North American west coast may provide additional insights about the origin of the first Americans, and describe the role of skepticism in scientific inquiry.

By Land or By Sea or Both? (PDF, 1.1 Mb)
Focus: Watercraft in Paleoamerican Migrations
In this activity, students will describe evidence that supports the idea that the initial settlement of North and South America involved watercraft, discuss types of watercraft that might have been involved in new world settlement, and explain at least three advantages and three disadvantages of coastal settlements compared to inland settlements.

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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.

Call to Arms (PDF, 329 kb)
(from the Lophelia II 2008 Expedition)
Focus: Robotic Analogues for Human Structures
In this activity, students will describe the types of motion found in the human arm, and describe four common robotic arm designs that mimic some or all of these functions.

Ship of the Line (9 pages, 293k)
(from AUVfest 2008)
Focus: Maritime History/Physical Science/Social Science
In this activity, students will be able to describe general characteristics and technologies used in 18th century naval ships; draw inferences about daily life aboard these ships; and explain at least three ways in which simple machines were used on these vessels.

Looking for Clues (8 pages, 556k)
(from the RMS Titanic Expedition 2004)
Focus: Marine archaeology of the Titanic (Physical Science)
In this activity, students will be able to draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck, and will list three processes that contribute to the Titanic's deterioration.

Wreck Detectives (5 pages, 384k)
(from the 2003 Steamship Portland Expedition)
Focus: Marine archaeology (physical science)
In this activity, students use a grid system to document the location of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site, use data about the location and types of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site to draw inferences about the sunken ship and the people who were aboard, and identify and explain types of evidence and expertise that can help verify the nature and historical context of artifacts recovered from shipwrecks.

Grades 7-8

Shipwreck Mystery (10 pages, 322k) (from AUVfest 2008)
Focus: Marine Archaeology (Earth Science/Physical Science/Social Science)
In this activity, students will be able to draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck; use a grid system to document the location of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site; and identify and explain types of evidence and expertise that can help verify the nature and historical content of artifacts recovered from shipwrecks.

I, Robot, Can Do That! (9 pages, 357k) (from the 2005 Lost City Expedition)
Focus: (Physical Science/Life Science) Underwater Robotic Vehicles for Scientific Exploration
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.

This Old Ship (9 pages, 272 kb) (from the 2006 Phaedra Expedition)
Focus: Ancient and Prehistoric Shipwrecks
In this activity, students will be able to describe at least three types of artifacts that are typically recovered from ancient shipwrecks, explain the types of information that may be obtained from at least three types of artifacts that are typically recovered from ancient shipwrecks, and compare and contrast, in general terms, technological features of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Hellenistic, and Byzantine period ships.

Mapping the Aegean Seafloor (8 pages, 288 kb) (from the 2006 Phaedra Expedition)
Focus: Bathymetric mapping of deep-sea habitats
In this activity, students will be able to create a two-dimensional topographic map given bathymetric survey data, create a three-dimensional model of landforms from a two-dimensional topographic map, and interpret two- and three-dimensional topographic maps

Grades 9-12

The Robot Archaeologist (17 pages, 518k) (from AUVfest 2008)
Focus: Marine Archaeology/Marine Navigation (Earth Science/Mathematics)
In this activity, students will design an archaeological survey strategy for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV); calculate expected position of the AUV based on speed and direction of travel; and calculate course correction required to compensate for the set and drift of currents.

My Wet Robot (300kb) (from the Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies Expedition)
Focus: Underwater Robotic Vehicles
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.

Do You Have a Sinking Feeling? (9 pages, 764k) (from the 2003 Steamship Portland Expedition)
Focus: Marine archaeology (Earth Science/Mathematics)
In this activity, students plot the position of a vessel given two bearings on appropriate landmarks, draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck, and explain how the debris field associated with a shipwreck gives clues about the circumstances of the sinking ship.

 


 

For More Information Contact:

Paula Keener
Education Director
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

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