Students will explore the biology, geology, and physical properties of our world’s oceans while developing an appreciation for the vast amount of our Earth that has yet to be explored and how humans are benefitting from those explorations. Students will learn through lecture, laboratory­based activities, student­developed research projects, and field trips. Topics investigated during the course include the physical constraints scientists must consider when engineering tools and technology to help explore the oceans; physical properties of the oceans including tides, ocean currents, and the effects of light and pressure on marine organisms in several different ecosystems; and the biological and behavioral adaptations of marine species. The major marine life that will be explored include species that reside in the deep ocean zone, the polar habitats, the tropical and deep water coral reefs, and the Pacific Ocean. An emphasis on organism interactions and specific ecosystems such as coral reefs, estuaries, and lagoons will also be examined. Students study the structure and function of marine life, compare and contrast organisms, and study ecosystems. Human interaction with the oceans and the future of our marine life will be explored through independent research projects and a book study.

Representative performance outcomes and skills are the ability students show to: 1) demonstrate process skills of scientific thinking: observing, communicating, comparing; 2) ordering, categorizing, relating, inferring, and applying; 3) demonstrate skills in the areas of speaking, listening, writing, reading, graphing, mapping skills, and mathematics; 4) handle safely the equipment and materials common to chemistry laboratory; 5) evaluate the contributions of science and technology and their relevance to improving our daily lives in preparation for the future; 6) Establish the relevance of science and its applications to careers and real­life situations; 7) select and use appropriate tools and technology (such as computer­linked probes, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators) to perform tests collect data, analyze relationships, and display data; 8) Identify and communicate sources of unavoidable experimental error; and 9) identify possible reasons for inconsistent results, such as sources of error or uncontrolled conditions.