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Photo via Unsplash

Author

NowThis Earth

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Biology

Regional Focus

Global

Format

YouTube Video

How Whales Help Fight Climate Change

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  • This video discusses whales and their role in sequestering carbon in the world's oceans. 
  • The video also suggests individual and collective action steps we can all take to protect whales. 

Positives

  • Many students will be unaware of whales' relationship to climate change.
  • Learning about the relationship between whale poop, phytoplankton, and carbon sequestration is amazing!

Additional Prerequisites

  • The term "blue carbon" may be new for many students. Blue carbon is carbon that is sequestered in the oceans and ocean ecosystems.
  • There is an error in the text in the video at 2 minutes, 52 seconds. The speaker in the video, Carissa Cabrera, says "support the initiative called 30 by 30," but the text says "support the innovative called 30 by 30."

Differentiation

  • This video could be shown in a history class when studying the whaling industry. Students could make the connection between historical and modern whaling and whales' importance to addressing the climate crisis.
  • In a biology class, students could study populations of specific whale species and efforts to conserve these species.
  • Another great resource we have on oceans and phytoplankton is this interactive lab from TERC.
The resource spotlights the importance of whales in global carbon sequestration and the need to conserve marine resources including whales, the food web, and marine ecosystem. This is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
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