This kit explores plankton and their global importance through four lessons and an optional extension activity. Plankton are tiny plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) that are incapable of swimming against major currents in the ocean. In Lesson 1 (40 minutes), students learn about plankton through a narrated PowerPoint presentation and investigate and identify various phytoplankton. In Lesson 2 (45 minutes), students design their own phytoplankton. In Lesson 3 (50 minutes), students investigate zooplankton with a microscope. In Lesson 4 (60 minutes), students use an educational CD and virtual microscope to explore phytoplankton, learn about environmental factors that affect phytoplankton growth and distribution, and run a computer simulation to generate phytoplankton blooms. Lessons 1, 2, and 3 are suitable for Grades 3–12, whereas Lesson 4 is geared toward Grades 6–12. Computers (not provided) are required for Lesson 4, and the students (or the teacher) must provide the supplies for the optional extension activity. Pre- and post- surveys are included.
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