Understanding Oceans has students model ocean acidification using LEGO bricks as atoms. Students also learn more about pH and mercury biomagnification in food webs.
This lesson is appropriate for children ages 11 and up. Understanding Oceans has students model ocean acidification using LEGO® bricks as atoms. Students also learn more about pH and mercury biomagnification in food webs. Students first model how increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air can alter chemical reactions in the ocean water. Several short activities explain what the pH numbers mean, make predictions for our ocean’s pH in the future, and provide suggestions for what students can do to slow down ocean acidification.
You can make your own Molecule Sets by visiting our webpage: Information for Edgerton Center Molecule Sets. We are no longer able to sell Molecule Sets. We recommend students work in pairs with 1 kit.
The following LEGO bricks are the minimum required per kit for the Understanding Oceans Lesson:
- 12 red 2x4 bricks
- 4 black 2x4 bricks
- 4 grey 2x4 bricks
- 1 green 2x4 brick
- 12 white 1x2 bricks
NOTE: "2x4" and "1x2" refer to the number of bumps on top of the LEGO bricks.
Understanding Oceans Mats:
Print all mats in color at 100% size on 11"x17" paper or in halves on 8.5"x11" paper. The Atom Key/Layout Mat is required for all Molecule Set lessons. The Toxic Mercury in Our Environment Mat is optional, and can be completed with or without the rest of the Understanding Oceans lesson. It must be printed in thirds on 8.5"x11" paper.
The following mats are the minimum required per kit for the Understanding Oceans Lesson:
Central Concepts: Energy resources are used to sustain human civilization. The amount and accessibility of these resources influence their use and their impact on the environment.
2.1 Recognize, describe, and compare renewable energy resources (e.g., solar, wind, water, biomass) and nonrenewable energy resources (e.g., fossil fuels, nuclear energy).
2.2 Describe the effects on the environment.
MS-ESS3.D.1: Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.
MS-PS1.B.1: Substances react chemically in characteristic ways. In a chemical process, the atoms that make up the original substances are regrouped into different molecules, and these new substances have different properties from those of the reactants.