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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Videos, 6 Minutes, 35 Seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Assessments
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


Eutrophication and Dead Zones

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  • This lesson describes the process of eutrophication, when excess nutrients collect in a body of water and cause algae blooms, low dissolved oxygen, and fish kills. 
  • Students learn about the "dead zones" created by eutrophication and the locations that are most impacted globally. 
  • An optional practice quiz about the types of aquatic and terrestrial pollution is available for students as well. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video provides engaging visuals and animations to describe the process of eutrophication in an accessible format.
  • The video helps students identify environmental impacts of industrialization and agriculture on the environment.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video is part of a larger unit on Khan Academy about aquatic and terrestrial pollution. 
  • While no sign-in is required to view the video or take the quiz, but an account is required to save progress and import the related practice quiz to Google classroom.
  • The first lesson in the series, titled "Human Impacts on Aquatic Environments," might provide helpful background knowledge. 


  • While this video is designed to be part of an AP Environmental Science course, it could easily be incorporated into a science lesson on ecosystems, human impacts on the environment, or aquatic biology. 
  • Consider brainstorming potential solutions for eutrophication with your students and research the regulations some cities have to reduce this problem, such as buffer zones along streams (i.e., riparian zones) and at the edges of agricultural land, and construction zones that use barriers to prevent loose sediment from flowing into streams.
  • Other resources that could help support this video include this video about fertilizing lawns, this game that challenges students to improve the health of a lake and this lesson about dead zones.
Scientist Notes
This 7-minute video presents the concept of eutrophication and the processes that lead to runoff, algae blooms, and hypoxic dead zones in water ecosystems. It is a clear and concise resource that does a good job walking students through the complex processes. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-1 Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
      • HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    • PS1: Matter and its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.4.9-12 Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
  • Related Resources


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