Ocean as climate ally

Lesson overview

This lesson introduces students to the idea of blue carbon habitats and their importance. Students will gain an overview of these coastal environments before analysing data to see how they play an important role in absorbing carbon and helping to tackle climate change.

Learning outcomes
  • Identify and describe the main types of blue carbon habitats
  • Understand how the ocean and blue carbon habitats help tackle climate change
  • Analyse the ability of different habitats to absorb and store carbon
  • Evaluate nature priorities based on data
Lesson steps

1. Ocean and climate recap (5 mins)

Use slides 2 to 7 to connect to remind students of the impact of human activity on global warming and introduce the idea of blue carbon habitats as an ally in tackling climate change. Introduce the lesson’s learning objectives using slide 8.

2. Blue carbon habitats (15 mins)

Introduce the class to blue carbon habitats using slides 11 to 15 and Student Sheet All about blue carbon habitats. Read through the information on the Student Sheet as a class and recap using the slides.

Then test students' understanding using the forbidden words game. Either in groups or as a whole class activity, students should try to describe one of the blue carbon habitats, but without using any of the forbidden words. Other students will have to guess. As an alternative, the Student Sheet Blue carbon blanks could be used as a simple cloze exercise.

Use slide 17 to share the global distribution of blue carbon habitats.

3. Blue carbon and climate change (5 mins)

Recap the mechanism by which blue carbon ecosystems absorb and store carbon using slides 19 to 24.

4. Blue carbon data (15 mins)

Use slides 26 to 28 to remind students of the two main ways of tackling climate change: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing nature’s ability to absorb and store carbon.

Use slide 29 to ask students which ecosystems they think are important in tackling climate change. Ask students for reasons, Some students may go for more well-known carbon capturing ecosystems such as tropical forests.

Hand out Student Sheet Carbon calculations to students and ask students to work through the data comparing different aspects of blue carbon and forest ecosystems. Review answers using slide 31. It is important that students have the correct answers before proceeding to the next activity.

5. Nature priorities (15 mins)

The data activity follows into a group activity looking at different ways that society could approach nature restoration and protection as part of tackling climate change.

Students should work in groups to choose their priorities and be able to give reasons as part of a whole class discussion. This activity could be extended into a home learning activity, with students creating presentations.

6. Let’s reflect (5 mins)

The lesson ends by asking students to reflect on the lesson and blue carbon habitats. Use the prompt questions on slide 34 to conduct a whole class discussion.