Blue carbon to the rescue

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
  • Explain the idea of blue carbon and how its habitats store carbon
  • Locate major blue carbon habitats on world maps
  • Interpret data to judge the importance of conserving blue carbon habitats
Lesson steps

1. Blue carbon habitats (15 mins)

Use slides 2 to 5 to connect to the previous lesson’s learning if you have taught this, then introduce the learning objectives to the class. This section then moves on to the idea of blue carbon habitats. Slides 8 to 13 help to focus in on the need to reduce carbon emissions and to increase nature’s ability to store carbon, leading to the point that blue carbon habitats are like carbon superheroes.

Slides 14 to 18 cover some basic content about blue carbon habitats, ending with students answering questions on the Student Sheet Blue carbon habitats.

This section then ends with looking at other forms of carbon storage in the ocean and how this all ends up in the mud. There is an optional song on slide 27 to land this content.

2. Blue carbon mapping (10 mins)

Go over some more details about each of the main blue carbon habitats using slides 29 to 33. Students then explore where blue carbon habitats are located, as well as the largest example of each of these habitats. Share this with students using slides 34 and 35, before setting the treasure hunt challenge using either the questions on slide 36 or using the Student Sheet Blue carbon mapping. Students will need an atlas or (online) map to complete this activity. Review the answers using slide 37. The answer to the final question 5 will depend on the location of the school.

3. Blue carbon calculations (20 mins)

Blue carbon habitats have many benefits for people and nature, but they have come to new prominence because of their ability to absorb and store large amounts of carbon at a rapid rate. This activity uses data to demonstrate their importance in capturing carbon. Students should work on the questions on Student Sheet Blue carbon calculations individually. Review these questions using the Answer Sheet and the answers on slides 40 and 41.

4. Blue carbon quiz (10 mins)

To consolidate knowledge from this lesson, there is a blue carbon quiz on slides 42 to 62. Students can keep score individually or in teams. The arrows on the slides can be used to prompt students either to point to one side or another, or it can be turned into a game. This involves students moving to one side of the classroom or the other depending on what they think the answer is. If they get an answer wrong they have to sit back down again. The winners are the students either who get to the end or our the last ones playing.

5. 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 63 to conduct a whole class discussion.