Educational Materials

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