About this STEM integrated learning scenario

This learning scenario addresses the theme of “ocean acidification”, focusing on the specific problem and its influence on the dissolution of calcium carbonate (impact on limestone and shellfish / clam formations).

Starting from real-life questions and through an experimental simulation (the limitations of which students must understand) it is intended that they become aware that human activities can cause a chain of events that sometimes have negative effects on the balance of the ecosystem. Students will use the knowledge acquired in three subjects they studied in secondary school, that have been chosen in order to design the activity and interpret its results, namely results that may not be in line with expectations. One of the objectives is that new questions may arise implying new experimental activities from the point of view of the evolution of scientific knowledge.

This STEAM approach is used from an interdisciplinary perspective promoting essential transversal learning according to the new profile of students leaving mandatory education, working on the essential learning of the disciplines involved – Biology and Geology (BG), Physics and Chemistry A (PC) and Philosophy (P), in order to achieve the 21st century skills.

This STEAM approach is based on the following pedagogical approach: Inquiry-based science education.

Author(s): Sónia Cerqueira, Isabel Oliveira, Augusto Fernandes

Subject(s): Biology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Philosophy

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Related real- life questions

This learning scenario explores the following real-life questions:

  • What are the impacts of the massive use of fossil fuels?
  • When it comes time to end the school day, the air is breathless. What are the consequences of our dependence on motor vehicles?
  • Can fossil fuels decrease the amount of food on our plates?
  • Why is the fishing industry suffering economic losses in the exploitation of shellfish?
  • Why do limestone monuments/statues show a marked degradation of beautiful architectural details?
  • Fossil fuels, ocean acidification, and calcium carbonate – What is their relationship?
  • What is the influence of ocean acidification on the dissolution of calcium carbonate?

Related STEM Careers

With this learning scenario, students will have the opportunity to work with activities and materials that will introduce them to several potential STEM career paths, including:

  • Environmental engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Biochemist
  • Bioengineer
  • Biological engineer
  • Biotechnology expert
  • Management of biological resources and marine biology

You can find related STEM jobs profiles on the STE(A)M IT repository:

CC BY: this learning scenario is licenced under the Creative Commons license. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, if they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.


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