Submarine life support investigation

Lesson overview

Researching using submarines means that the scientists are working in an enclosed space deep underwater for hours at a time. This lesson investigates the life support systems needed to keep scientists and explorers alive. Students will conduct an investigation into how limewater can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in an atmosphere. Students will then design the life support systems needed for a submarine. The lesson concludes with students compiling all their research from the unit to create a submarine design presentation.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the dangers to explorers in the deep ocean (foundation)
  • Conduct an investigation into respiration (developing)
  • Describe how respiration occurs and its importance (competent)
  • Balance the respiration equation (expert)
  • Explain how submarines are built and engineered to sustain life (advanced)

Lesson steps

  1. Brief (15 mins)
    Students recall the seven requirements for life, and the teacher introduces the context of the lesson – How life is supported in underwater vehicles. Students set themselves targets based on the learning criteria of the lesson.
  2. Investigation (15 mins)
    Students follow the investigation brief to carry out an investigation into the effects of respiration. Students answer questions pertaining to the investigation and consider the implications for life support for the submersible’s crew.
  3. Demonstrate learning (25 mins)
    By filling out a template, students explain how they intend to support life in their submersible design.
  4. Self-reflection (5 mins)
    Students decide if they have met their targets set at the beginning of the lesson, and reflect on the lesson’s importance to the context of the Scheme of Work.