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Lesson: Protecting Our Ocean Resources Course: Honors Marine Biology Sequence: Day 1 - Introduction

Benton High School 5655 South Fourth Street Saint Joseph, Missouri 64504

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Teacher: Sean P. Nash Duration: 1 period

Learning Objectives
• Describe several examples of human impact on life in the ocean. • Define and identify the term “bycatch.” • Evaluate current data suggesting smart seafood choices.

Lesson Design
Connection to or Analysis of Background Knowledge

Students are asked to silently make a list of any and all types of seafood they have ever consumed in their life to date. After a period of time, students are paired with another student (think-pair-share) to share lists. Oftentimes students will be prompted into remembering other items they have eaten and the surrounding circumstances. A lineup is then done (by any criteria) to group students into pods of four to share the group’s data on this question internally. Students will then diagram a poster list to be shared out with the other six or so groups in the class. The teacher should facilitate discussion, looking for and pointing out trends in the data and finally asking for student input on any peculiarities in the data. The teacher should always interject to clear up misconceptions when they occur.
Objective and Purpose (Share the “why”)

Today’s session is an introduction connecting what students have experienced in the world of seafood while growing up in the midwest... to the current state of our seafood resources. Students often think that the choices they make in Missouri have little to no effect on the oceans of the planet. Students should be informed up front that this idea will be addressed and discussed throughout the class in every phase of learning. In today’s introduction, we are looking for an increased awareness about critical issues in ocean resources directly pertaining to food issues & practices.
Modeling or Demonstration

Students are led through a largely whole-group discussion as they interact with images and other information on seafood resources through the use of a multimedia presentation. Common examples of seafood choices in the United States are given and related to the health & environmental status of the species. The Blue Ocean Institute’s “Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood” will be presented as a key piece here. Students are handed a printed copy of the pocket brochure available here: As species are presented, student are instructed on how to use the guide to make healthy and environmentally conscious decisions in selecting seafood items from either a restaurant or grocery. An online copy of the current seafood guide for reference is found here:
Check for Understanding

Students participate in group questioning through discussion with questions regularly revolving around: “Why do you think this fish would make a smart choice for seafood?”, “Do you see any potential problems with this species as it relates to it being used as a seafood?”, “Identify some of the problems facing this species in particular.”, etc. Students are also encouraged to record questions on post-it notes for review at the end of the period and in closure of the lesson as described later.

Practice Closure and Extension

Benton High School 5655 South Fourth Street Saint Joseph, Missouri 64504

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Groups of students are given a species not covered in today’s exposure discussion. Without using the Blue Institute guide, students search the web for data needed to make a choice about the viability of this species as a smart seafood choice. Groups should report their answer to the class in terms of both human health and sustainability of the species.

Students revisit the initial question from the presentation: “How Can Missourians Affect Ocean Resources?”. Students answer this question on a post-it note to be posted on the door on the way out of class. Also added here and answers to any previous questions scribbled onto post-its. Finally, students will go to our social network at: to post a summary of today’s lesson (including solid connections and reflections) on the program blog pages. Students will also post online comments and questions to the blog posts of other students in the class. Students are on assignment until the next class period to find one of the most common seafood items sold in a minimum of two local grocery stores or restaurants. These contacts can be made by visiting the location or via a short phone interview.


• Blue Ocean Institute: • Online “Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood”: • Order instructions for seafood guides: • Slide presentation may be found at:


• The next lesson will feature work with species health and sustainability data to assure a solid knowledge base prior to the culminating public education performance event. • The third lesson will be an introduction to actually “doing something” (social action) about the issues we discussed tonight. The theme of the next period will be “taking social action from Missouri to change things in the ocean.” • This unit will culminate in an authentic performance task centered around the execution of a successful public education plan.