Ocean acidification: Data analysis

Lesson overview

One of the most used data sets to show the trend in ocean acidification over the past 20 years is from the Hawaii Ocean Time-series. Students will use real data from a series of research ‘cruises’ to analyse the information and identify trends. There are options to use ICT to examine the data set, as well as using print outs of graphs and data tables.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the use of data in geographical enquiry
  • Create a graph from a data set
  • Interpret data and draw conclusions

Lesson steps

  1. Why use this data set? (10 mins)
    It has only been in the past few years that ocean acidification has been researched more. There are few data sets that show how carbon dioxide has affected the pH of the oceans over a period of time. Use the Hawaii Ocean Time-series factsheet to discuss long-term data on ocean acidification.
  2. Data exercise (40 mins)
    Use the annual mean data from the Hawaii Ocean Time-series.
    Option 1 (with access to computers): ask students to answer basic questions, draw and interpret graphs based on the data.
    Option 2 (no access to computers, print out activity sheets): ask students to answer basic questions about data sets and interpret the graphs.
  3. Reflection (5 mins)
    Ask students to discuss future scenarios if the trend continues and do independent research to prepare for the last lesson (conference in the classroom).