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Database Provider


The Climate Initiative


5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Worksheet
  • Presentation Slides
  • Assessment
  • Game
  • Video
  • Data

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Maine


Google Docs, Google Slides, PDF, YouTube Video

Models, Food Webs, and a Warming Gulf of Maine Module

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  • In this 5-lesson module, students use scientific modeling to explore how marine food webs are changing because of warming ocean waters in the Gulf of Maine.
  • Students will watch videos, draw food web diagrams, play a game that models marine ecosystems, analyze data about ocean warming, and create a final product to synthesize their learning.
Teaching Tips


  • Students are able to practice analyzing data presented as graphs and maps.
  • Students create a final product to communicate what they've learned about the impacts of climate change on nearby ocean ecosystems with their community.
  • There is an option to email GMRI and have them send you materials for the game, so you don't have to prep them!

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand food webs and how they are interconnected.
  • Many lessons in this module will require more than one class period.
  • Students should have a foundational understanding of climate change and its impacts.
  • Each lesson has a slideshow, student handouts, discussion questions, and assessment rubrics.
  • The Seattle Aquarium link in the Plankton Investigation section doesn't work.
  • The link to the Sea Surface Temperature Maps in the Final Project Digital Note Catcher does not work, but these maps are in the Lesson 3 resources.
  • The link to Jill Pelto's data art is broken, but many Jill Pelto resources are in the SubjectToClimate Resource Database.


  • Students watch videos of multiple scientists working on this research, which can connect this module to green careers.
  • The lesson provides flexibility in what the final products can be and how students can share them with the community.
  • Most lessons include optional extension activities and resources that teachers can use to expand learning on the topic.
  • When playing the food web modeling game, students in large classes may benefit from wearing markers to indicate their level on the food web.
Scientist Notes
This resource allows students to learn about marine food webs and how they are changing. The content focuses specifically on the Gulf of Maine. In addition to learning about food webs, students will learn about models, how they help people better understand what is happening, and how they aid scientific research. The provided resources are accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
      • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
      • MS-LS2-3 Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability (6-8)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5 Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.
  • Related Resources


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