Science Labs

Considering Climate Change: Fire Island and Storms

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade


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


  • 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.

This also includes an optional field trip to the breach at Old Inlet on Fire Island National Seashore. The overall timeline of the science lab is outlined below.

Day 1: 

Pre-Lab Homework: Understanding Barrier Island Dynamics
Pre-Lab Lesson: Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change
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
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
Follow-up Homework: Breach Evolution Pros and Cons

Day 6 (optional):

Field Trip to the Breach at Old Inlet


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Last updated: September 15, 2015