Students will consider the various impacts humans have had on the coral reef ecosystem, both positive and negative. These impacts range from long-term environmental changes caused by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, to changes in land use in coastal areas and the impact of fertilisers on the ecosystem balance.
Different species have adapted to life on the coral reef in amazing and diverse ways. From sleeping in mucus bubbles, to flexible snakelike skeletons, life on the reef has had to find ingenious methods for finding food and staying alive.
This lesson introduces students to the range of life on the reef. Starting off by learning to name and identify different species, students will then sort these into different groups and start to use classification keys.
This lesson covers the basic anatomy of the coral polyp, their life cycle and reproductive processes, and finishes with a game that shows how tropical coral polyps get their energy boost to create such amazing structures.
For teachers wishing to bring a hands-on and creative element to the unit, this lesson provides the template for building a reef in your classroom and can act as the basis for future lessons. Rather than a traditional lesson, these resources describe two possible ways of making your own reef in the classroom: reef-in-a-box and a reef mural. Depending on the time, you have available, you can either use one or both of these approaches over the course of the unit.
Part two sees students develop their understanding of levers and pulleys and relates this to how cranes launch and recover submersibles. Students will continue to develop their crane, this time adding a lever or pulley system which will raise and lower their submarine model. Students will reflect on their build, evaluate the effectiveness of their cranes and make suggestions for improvements. Finally, students will demonstrate their learning by creating a poster which describes and explains how cranes work to launch and recover submersibles, concluding the Submarine STEM unit.
Part one of this two-part lesson develops students understanding of strong structures and investigates how cranes work. Students work together to design and construct a crane using a variety of materials. They will adapt and evaluate their structure as they go along and make improvements where necessary. They will also construct a model submersible to launch and recover once their crane is complete.
This lesson discusses the properties of materials and their use in submersible design. Students will compare a variety of materials for their submersible and justify their choices. An investigation into how salt water affects materials allows pupils to make predictions, write conclusions and conduct a fair test.
The context of the lesson is a practical investigation to discover how shape and surface area affect the speed at which a submersible descends. Students develop their understanding of forces, surface area, and fair testing.