Coral Reefs and Global Warming
This activity allows students to use authentic scientific data to make claims about the threat of coral bleaching for reefs around the world.
In this computer-based activity, students download, graph, and analyze authentic satellite temperature data for coral reef sites around the world. After observing global trends in the data, students evaluate the threat to coral reefs from heat stress, which has been occurring with increased intensity and frequency in recent years. The activity requires that students have access to computers with spreadsheet software. If computers are unavailable or students are unfamiliar with using spreadsheet software, students can be provided with handouts of prepared graphs for analysis and evaluation.
Cards, graphs, and maps for the activity are provided in the “Other Materials” ZIP file.
Student Learning Targets
- Make evidence-based claims about the threat of rising ocean temperatures to coral reefs.
- Identify global patterns by comparing data from three world maps.
- Graph data using spreadsheet software and estimate the area under a curve.
algae, biodiversity, degree heating week (DHW), marine biology, maximum monthly mean (MMM), oceanography, polyp, sea surface temperature (SST), symbiosis
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6; SEP2, SEP4
AP Biology (2019)
ENE-3.D, ENE-1.M, SYI-2.B, SYI-2.C; SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 9.6
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-1.A, ERT-1.C, ERT-1.D, STB-4, SP1, SP2, SP4, SP5, SP7
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
ELA.RST.9–12.3, ELA.RST.9–12.7, ELA.RST.9–12.9
Math.N-Q.1, Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-ID.6; MP2, MP4, MP5
Vision and Change (2009)
CC5; DP2, DP3, DP4