Overview

This lesson plan introduces the topic of buffers and describes carbonate buffering in the ocean when atmospheric CO2 dissolves in seawater. The buffering capacity of the ocean is, however, limited, and therefore, higher concentrations of dissolved CO2 can lead to ocean acidification. Students will use a computer-based activity/model to explore how higher atmospheric CO2 levels (resulting in an increase in dissolved CO2) can lead to ocean acidification. Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, or Earth Sciences.

Grade Level: High school, Undergraduate
Discipline: Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences
Topics: Buffers, Buffer Action, pH Level, Buffer Capacity, Buffer Range, Acidification, Le Chatelier’s Principle
Climate Topic: Climate and the Hydrosphere, Climate and the Atmosphere, Climate and the Biosphere
Location: Global
Languages: English

Learning Outcomes

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  • Define buffers and describe buffer action.
  • Describe the terms buffer capacity and buffer range.
  • Explain the buffering action of seawater.
  • Explain ocean acidification and discuss its possible impact on the biosphere.
Lesson plan based on an idea submitted by Dr. Pragya Gahlot, Sri Venkateswara College (University of Delhi), India. Want to know more about how to contribute? Contact us.

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