Lesson 604: Our Warming Oceans: Biosphere to Bahamas

In the Arizona desert, scientists study a small ocean at Biosphere II facility, where researchers measure sea changes under controlled conditions. But the real ocean is uncontrolled and vast. We journey to the Bahamas to join researchers in caves and in reefs who are making startling findings about changes in climate and their effects on our oceans.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about climate change research that is taking place in both the Biosphere II and in the ocean’s of the Bahamas.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environments: E, F, J

Discussion Prompts

  • What evidence is there that the earth is getting warmer? Why do you think some people still refute this fact?
  • Why is there now more acid in the ocean and who or what does it harm? What causes this acidification?
  • Look at a map of where the Bahamas are located in relation to Florida. How might the Bahamas sea level rise and water resources predict what might happen in South Florida?
  • The video states that there are 700 islands that make up the Bahamas. Compare and contrast how this might affect daily life differently than someone who lives in a landlocked country.

Lesson Activities

  • Draw a two-way Venn Diagram. In the middle portion show how Biosphere II is a microcosm of the ocean in the Bahamas in terms of studying climate change. In the outer portions, show how they differ as research centers.
  • Imagine you are an oceanographer working at the Biosphere II. Create an informational tour for an upcoming educational field trip that explains the purpose of its research for visiting students.
  • Write a public speech urging voters to adopt greater measures to protect the ocean from climate change. Use details from the video to convince voters.
  • Create a PowerPoint about the Great Barrier Reef and the environmental conditions there. Include how increasing temperatures are harming the ecosystem and what can be done to protect the Great Barrier Reef.


  • acidification
  • climate change
  • deoxygenation
  • ethereal
  • intermediary
  • intrusion
  • laboratory
  • staggering
  • stalagmites
  • vital


In the Americas Season 6 Lesson Episode 4