|Class Time Required:||
4-6 Class Periods
Student handouts, Role Cards
60 minutes to read background information and make copies
|Prior Student Knowledge:|
mitigation, impacts, deployment
Alaska Science GLEs Addressed:
Other Alaska Standards Addressed:
In this investigations, students work in pairs or small groups to role-play as public and private stake-holders in a permitting process to decide if a structure should be allowed to be placed in marine habitat and present their reasoning to students role-playing the decision-maker. They will review other situations to expand their knowledge of the pros and cons of artificial reefs as a way to mitigate loss of marine habitat from other human activities.
Can people construct artificial reefs that provide habitat for marine life?
Engagement (60 minutes):
Have the students view the video clip of deploying the reef (putting it into the water).
Discuss the following questions as a class:
- What do you think led up to the decision to putting this artificial reef in place?
- Who do you think is responsible for putting the artificial reef in place and why?
- Why do think scientists would want to study what happens to the artificial reef?
Have students write their answers to the following questions in their science notebooks:
- List the types of things that people might do along the ocean shoreline that harm or eliminate habitat for fish and other marine life.
- Do you think there should be rules or government regulations about putting things in the ocean that don’t occur there naturally, including artificial reefs?
- Should you and other people have a say in decisions about how the ocean and beaches are used?
Exploration: (1-2 class periods)
Introduce this activity by telling the class they will be participating in a public decision-making process similar to the one that led up to the deployment of the artificial reef.
Pass out copies and read the description of the situation to the class on the worksheet, then tell the class that a public decision and a permit from the federal government would be required before the harbor could be built. Explain the concept of public ownership of natural resources, which include certain lands and water bodies, and fish and wildlife. Describe the role of state and federal natural resource agencies to manage public resources.
Brainstorm with the class about who might have an interest or stake in the outcome of the decision whether or not to build the harbor. Tell them students that they are going to be members of the public or representatives of natural resource agencies who are the stakeholders in the decision.
Read the description of mitigation that follows the situation description to the class. Write the definition of mitigation on the board and tell the students to copy this into their science notebook. Use the examples about covering their neighborhood with gravel from the teacher background. Brainstorm ways to mitigate the impacts of building a new harbor (Avoid the impact – don’t construct a new harbor, change the location to an area where the impacts on fish and wildlife won’t be negative; Lessen the impact - make the harbor as small as possible, avoid the noise of construction during the time when juvenile salmon are going out to sea or birds are gone for the winter, Compensate –pay the government what the habitat is " worth".) Discuss the consequences of some of the examples (no harbor would mean the community’s economy will not grow as a result of new businesses and jobs, a smaller harbor may not meet the needs for the future, paying money in compensation will not offset the loss of the habitat for fish and wildlife.) If this does not come up during discussion, conclude the discussion by telling the students that the artificial reef is an attempt to compensate for the loss of habitat that occurred when a gravel loading ramp was extended in the ocean near Whittier and the bottom habitat was completely covered with gravel.
Explanation: (1 class period)
Divide into groups or pairs.
Groups: Each person in the group has a role and one person has the role of "the decider."
Pairs: Each pair has a role and one or more other students are "the deciders."
Each student or pair reads the information on their card and has 15 minutes to write a short speech they will make to the decider or deciders. If you plan to do this activity over two days, then the students can be encouraged to do more research about what the people in their position might say (Does Anchorage need a 700 million port) and bring props to embellish their speeches.
The students make their presentations within their group or, if done in pairs, to the whole class.
The decider or deciders have 15 minutes to write up their decision and their reasons for making the decision they did.
The deciders present their decision to the class and explain why they made the decision they did.
Lead a class discussion about the decision-making process and the outcome. Who benefits and who is harmed by the decision?
Have the students write in their science notebooks and answer the questions:
Do you think the decision was fair? Why or why not? Was anyone not involved in the decision that should have been?
If they used the Port of Anchorage expansion information, have them read about the permitting decisions for the port and answer the questions for these decisions also.
Extension (Application): (1-2 class periods)
Brainstorm ways to mitigate the impacts of building the harbor.
At the conclusion of the discussion, tell the students that the artificial reef was an attempt to compensate for the loss of habitat that occurred when a gravel loading ramp was extended in the ocean near Whittier and the bottom habitat was completely covered with gravel. Explain that the scientific experiment and monitoring is needed because this is the first artificial reef in cold Alaskan waters and that the company who built the gravel ramp paid into a mitigation fund that paid for the artificial reef.
Student can also read a news article about the Whittier artificial reef project (need links) or do further research about what types of activities in the ocean require permits.
- http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/837/ on ocean fish farm regulation
- http://www.epa.gov/region4/oceans/ ocean dumping
- http://www.ocean-life.info/Ocean_Pollution.html (Oil Pollution Act of 1990)
(The following is adapted from the lesson plan "Pros and Cons of Artificial Reefs")
Define the term "artificial reef" as a human-made structure in the ocean or sea. Explain that, like natural rocky reefs, artificial reefs frequently attract marine animals from the surrounding ocean areas.
Have students look at the pictures at these Web sites to see some examples of artificial reefs. Discuss the different types of structures they see and the types of animals and plants they see living on or around the structures:
- Artificial Reefs Worldwide
- Rigs-to-Reefs Information
- South Carolina Department of Natural Resources: Marine Artificial Reefs
Ask students to make "pros and cons" charts that hypothesize the positive and negative impacts of artificial reefs on the marine ecosystem. They can make their charts individually, in small groups, or as a class, but be sure to discuss the charts as a class.
Have students read the National Geographic News article, Artificial Reefs: Trash to Treasure, either individually or as a class. Ask them to answer the following questions as they read:
- Why are marine organisms attracted to a sunken ship?
- When a ship sinks and turns into an artificial reef, does it matter how it is shaped or what it is made of? Why?
- Over time, do artificial reefs become very similar to or very different from natural reefs?
- How might a sunken ship help a nearby natural coral reef?
Have students do further research using the article below and others they research on their own to develop a "pros and cons" list based on the information they have gathered.
Discuss students' new lists as a class. Overall, do they think artificial reefs are a good idea? Under what circumstances might they be more damaging than beneficial?
Use the sample rubrics.
- Research and read background materials on permitting and mitigation
- Make copies of Boat Harbor Project Description and Role Cards; cut up Role Cards
Technology, Geography, Social Studies
Facility/Equipment Requirements: Internet access on LCD projector OR student computers and overhead projector
|Essential Question:||In what ways do artificial reefs affect marine life?|