A park ranger describes the formation and evolution of the breach at Old Inlet on Fire Island.
A park ranger describes the formation and evolution of the breach at Old Inlet on Fire Island.
NPS/K. Sucena

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Grade Level:
Ninth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Subject:
Biology: Plants, Climate Change, Earth Science
National/State Standards:
Next Generation Science Standards: HS-LS2 Ecosystems; HS-ESS2 Earth's Systems; HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity
Common Core Standards: RST Grades 9-10 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9; RST Grades 11-12 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9; WST 9-10 8,9; WST 11-12 8,9
Keywords:
climate change, shoreline dynamics, Hurricane Sandy

Overview

This lesson plan explores the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, the history-making 2012 storm, on the natural resources of Fire Island, and it challenges students to consider the effects of climate change that are likely to occur close to home. The lesson includes an inquiry-based lab, with pre-labs, activities, and homework designed to increase understanding of climate change.

Objective(s)

  • Students will conduct individual labs to test dissolved oxygen.
  • Students will be able to list two changes to the Fire Island landscape that occurred during Hurricane Sandy.
  • Students will utilize primary sources and inquiry-based laboratory findings to inform their opinion about managing a dynamic landscape.


Background

There is growing evidence that we are already seeing some of the effects of climate change, such as the increased frequency and intensity of storms. And, because powerful storms are the drivers of barrier island evolution, we may be more likely to see an increase in dramatic landscape change like the breach at Old Inlet caused by Hurricane Sandy. This lesson plan explores the impacts that Hurricane Sandy had on the natural resources of Fire Island and the Great South Bay, and challenges students to consider the effects of climate change that are likely to occur close to home. 



Materials

Day 1: Pre-Lab Homework: Understanding Barrier Island Dynamics
Day 1: Pre-Lab Lesson: Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change
Day 1: Follow-up Homework: Understanding the Health of an Aquatic Ecosystem: Measuring Dissolved Oxygen and Primary Productivity

Day 2-4:Inquiry-based Lab: Measuring the Health of the Bay: Measuring Dissolved Oxygen in an Aquatic System
Day 2-4:Follow-up Homework: Reading: "The Impact on the Great South Bay of the Breach at Old Inlet"

Day 5:Follow-up Homework: The Impact on the Great South Bay of the Breach at Old Inlet
Day 5: Follow-up Homework: Breach Evolution Pros and Cons

Day 6 (optional): Field Trip to the Breach at Old Inlet



Procedure

Pre-Lab Homework: Understanding Barrier Island Dynamics
Pre-Lab Lesson - PowerPoint: Hurricane Sandy and Understanding Climate Change
Follow-Up Homework: Understanding the Health of An Aquatic Ecosystem - Measuring Dissolved Oxygen and Primary Productivity
Inquiry-based Lab: Measuring the Health of the Bay
Inquiry-based Lab
Inquiry-based Lab and Follow-up Homework: The Impact on Great South Bay of the Breach at Old Inlet, a SUNY Stony Brook report
Post-Lab: Pros and Cons to Keeping the Breach Open
Field Trip: Visiting the Breach at Old Inlet on Fire Island



Vocabulary

Longshore transport, barrier island, swash zone, dune, bluff, berm, berm crest, bar, dune crest, scarp, feeder beach, storm surge, global warming, climate change, greenhouse effect, ocean acidification, coral bleaching