One important goal of the SAS project was to develop an educational outreach component. The team decided to use Ocean Acidification
as the theme for a project based learning curriculm. Lesson plans were created to introduce the fundamental chemical principles that
explain ocean acidification and to show how technology has been developed to advance our scientific research. The final lesson plan involves students building their own
simplified water sampler (or Mini-SAS). This lesson is a great introduction to the new 'maker movement' and provides students with a simple and guided introduction into becoming an engineer.
Lesson 1: Introduction to Chemistry and Ocean Acidification
The goal of this lesson is to reinforce basic scientific principles taught in the classroom and apply them to increase students' comprehension of ocean acidification, an environmental issue that is threatening marine ecosystems. Students will first learn about pH and buffering capacity of solutions such as oceans. They will then explore the influence of humans and marine animals and plants on the acidity of the oceans. Lastly, students will learn how natural resources and the historical rise in the use of fossil fuels has contributed to increasing atmospheric CO2 and ocean acidification.
Lesson Plan 1:
Introduction to Chemistry and Ocean Acidification
Supplement presentation to introduce ocean acidification
Lesson 2: Science and Technology
In this lesson students will be introduced to the concept that science and technology go hand-in-hand. It is a simple concept but one that is becoming more apparent as new breakthroughs in science are often brought about by new technologies. In return, scientific discoveries are often the foundation for developing new technologies. Students are also introduced to the Engineering Design Process, which is similar to the scientific method. There is a brief activity outlined in the lesson plan to give students some inspiration for STEM projects.
The activity is a presentation based on important milestones in the ocean science and technology fields that have brought NOAA to the forefront of marine research around the world.
Lesson 3: Build a Mini-SAS
A lesson plan and material list are provided to allow students an opportunity to build a simplified sampler, or Mini-SAS, of their own. The design is based on the circuitry of the SAS, but made with a Sparkfun kit and a few accessory parts. Students work in groups to assemble the components on a breadboard and connect the Arduino microcontroller to that. There is an exciting challenge for the students to sample water from one vial and transfer it to another by customizing the delay and volume of water sampled.