Island Explorers Curriculum Home


Unit 4

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 5


Concepts/Objectives | Vocabulary/Background | Activity | Extension


Lesson Plan 1




Resource: a supply that we can draw from when necessary (usually it is something that we need, such as food/fish, or that we can make other things from, like kelp or oil or use for energy)
Renewable: capable of being replaced by natural cycles or sound management practices, can grow or start over again; example: trees
Nonrenewable: resources that cannot be replaced (example: oil takes millions of years to form and cannot be replaced in any realistic human time frame)
Biosphere: living things together with their environment (surroundings)


Humans are part of the biosphere and rely on it for food and energy (mineral and oil/natural gas). Resources such as fish are renewable, as long as too many are not taken/destroyed. They can continuously replenish themselves if not interfered with and inhibited from doing so. Other resources such as oil and minerals are non-renewable. They are formed over millions of years and once depleted will take millions of years to replenish. There is also human impact not only from the consumption and depletion of the resource, but also from the exploration and production, and in the transportation of the resource to the market. One result of this activity is pollution.

Resources are limited and we need to be responsible in how we use them. If we remove too many fish from the sea, too much kelp to make ice cream, or too much oil for our cars, we will no longer have these resources. In addition, when we remove them from the environment it affects other species in the environment as well for example: other organisms depend on fish for food and kelp has an entire community of organisms which depend on it.

Coral is a good example of this problem. In many parts of the world coral is used for jewelry. Coral reefs are extremely fragile and are harmed by any impact: a diver chipping pieces off the reef, snorkelers, and swimmers stepping on the reefs are two ways this can happen. There is also evidence that pollution and changes in climate that affect ocean temperatures are also harming coral. As a result coral reefs are beginning to die around the world. As they die not only are the organisms lost coral reefs are alive; made up of millions of coral polyps, small soft-bodied animals that build calcium carbonate exoskeletons for protection but the fish and other organisms that live on and around the coral reef die too.

Further information about the uses of specific marine resources:

  • Fish: food, fish meal (inexpensive protein for poultry, livestock), fish oil (margarine, cosmetics, paint, fertilizers, pet food)
  • Oil: to use as fuel and to make plastics and other petroleum products
  • Natural Gas: fuel for heat and for powering some cars and industries
  • Pharmaceuticals (drugs from the sea): antibiotics and anti-inflammatory agents from corals and sponges, anesthetic and painkillers from poisons found in puffers and porcupine fish, heart attack prevention from oils found in fish
  • Minerals: commercial value; can be from ocean mining (seabed sand and gravel, coal, tin, iron, and even diamonds and gold) Also, minerals especially table salt, are taken from sea water. Virtually every element on earth is in sea water.
  • Kelp/seaweeds: ice cream, chemicals used in food processing, cosmetics, plastics
  • Corals, pearls, shells: used in jewelry and decorative arts

Resources can be limited, because of this we need to take care of them and not take too much.