Educational Materials

Science Writing Syllabus

This syllabus was made to be incorporated into an established science curriculum. Each week, students discuss a new writing topic (sentence structure, use of jargon, etc.) for about 10 minutes in class, read a short description of the topic on their own, and then apply the topic to their own writing during the regular weekly homeworks. This science-writing intervention has been implemented in a university-level science course and is now being evaluated for effectiveness. Stay tuned for the result and publication!

Level: High school to University

Estimated Time: 10 minutes/week for 8 weeks


Harmful Algal Blooms and Climate Change

Students investigate the socio-economic impacts of climate change through the phenomena of harmful algal blooms. This week-long curriculum integrates ideas from biology, ecology, and sociology in a marine context and concludes with developing a conceptual model of how climate change is impacting algal blooms.

Level: Middle School

Estimated Time: Four 50-minute class periods


Fish Kills in Hood Canal

Students are invited to investigate the phenomena of fish kills in Hood Canal (Puget Sound). This week-long curriculum integrates ideas from biology, chemistry, and physics in a marine context, introduces students to coding, and concludes with developing a conceptual model of why fish kills occur.

Level: Middle School

Estimated Time: Five 50-minute class periods


Coastal Sedimentation: Past, Present, and Future

This activity guides students through coastal sedimentation of the past, present, and future. Students will learn to read a sediment record as a story of past coastal migration due to sea level fluctuations (Part 1). Students will also estimate modern sediment transport visually and mathematically and hypothesize why discrepancies between theoretical predictions and real observations exist (Part 2). Finally, students will apply newly learned theories and their hypothesis by predicting how coastal environments may change in the future in response to a variety of stressors such as damn installation and climate change (Part 3).

Level: Undergraduate

Estimated Time: 2 hours in class, 1 hour out of class


Sediment Dynamics in the Benthic Boundary Layer

This activity guides students through quantitative analysis of real nearshore sedimentation data from Washington State’s continental shelf. Students should have previously learned the theory behind critical shear stress as it applies to sediment transport in the benthic boundary layer. In this activity, the students will apply these theories to predict sediment transport along a continual shelf. Students will ultimately create a connection between these seemingly abstract theories and the stability of coastal communities.

Level: Undergraduate (Junior/Senior)

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours in class


Coastal Depositional Environments – Waves, Deltas, and Sediment Transport

This activity teaches students how to read a coastline and surmise what processes control the shoreline morphology. Students will work through a jigsaw activity to learn how waves transform and drive sediment transport and control coastline stability (Part 1). Students will also learn how waves, tides, and river processes control delta formation and surface expression (Part 2). Finally, students will apply what they learned  by looking at real shorelines and hypothesizing what processes must have shaped these environments (Part 3).

Level: Undergraduate

Estimated Time: 2 hours in class, 30 min out of class