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Importance of

Coral Reefs
Aileen Zelinski &
Anna Kingsbury

Grade and Standards

7th grade
1 week long lesson
MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of
resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an
MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and
minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Students will be able to...

Interpret data to explain the negative impacts humans can have on coral reef
Explain how those negative impacts can affect the resources, and therefore
growth, of coral itself.
Describe ways in which the destruction of coral reefs have an impact on the
organisms living in that ecosystem.
Design a plan to reduce the negative effects that humans can have on reef systems.

Requisite Knowledge &

Prior Knowledge:

General knowledge of the water cycle

What coral reefs are and how they are formed
Be able to find credible web sources from which to extract information while doing research


May think that coral itself is not living, and is a kind of stone or other formation around which
different creatures live
Exposed in the Engage section
Addressed in the Explore and Explain sections

Show class Great Barrier Reef via google maps at the front of the room on the
Facilitate a whole class discussion to get students thinking about coral reefs and
discover what they might already know about coral reef ecosystems.

Students will complete Cause and Effect activity

Information cards about the pollution that may affect coral reefs

Work in table groups to match up the Causes with the Effects that occur
because of them.

Explain the Cause and Effect activity through a class discussion.
Go through each Cause one by one and have students volunteer to share what
their group thought the matching Effect was.
Have a discussion about each one in turn, making sure to lead students to the
correct Effect if they do not reach it on their own through the class discussion
and collaboration.

Students will work in pairs to
research a given set of animals
that live in a coral reef
Goal will be to investigate how the
destruction of reef systems
affects those animals specifically.
Clownfish, sea turtles, sea snakes,
sponge, starfish, octopus, crabs

3 part project to demonstrate understanding of the effects of destructive
practices on coral reefs and their ecosystems.
Students will need to create:
Split diorama of a healthy vs unhealthy coral reef ecosystem, complete
with creatures that live there
2 paragraph scene explanation describing what makes each side of their
diorama healthy and unhealthy
1 paragraph action plan that the student has to reduce or minimize the
destruction of the worlds coral reefs

Evaluate (cont.)