Educator Resources

Class Discussion

Establish Prior Knowledge 

Call on students to share what they know about coral reefs. For more information, you may want to direct them to the American Museum of Natural History site:

http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/ocean/02_ecosystems/

Point out that coral reefs around the world have become endangered due to global warming and pollution. Tell students that in the Snapshot they are about to see researchers investigate how human populations affect coral reefs surrounding a string of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Exploration

Have students view the Snapshot and read the synopsis. Use the following questions to guide a class discussion:

  1. What is unique about the population density of the Line Islands? How does this benefit researchers?
  2. What is the most populated island? What did researchers discover about the health of the coral and the number of predators at this island?
  3. Tabuaeran Island is less populated than Kiritmati. How does the health of the coral reef and number of predators at Tabuaeran compare to that of Kiritmati?
  4. Kingman reef is unpopulated. What did researchers discover about the health of the coral and number of predators at this reef?

Wrap-up

  • Why is this group of islands a “natural laboratory” for studying the effect of human activity on coral reefs.?  

Extend

Students who want to learn more about the expedition to the Line Islands can visit these websites: