Signals of Spring - ACESimage of a whale tail
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Teach Science in an Ocean Context
Track LIVE Marine Animals in your Classroom!

photos of students' artwork for an ACES activity involving different marine ecosystems

photos of students analyzing marine samples in classroom

The goal of Signals of Spring — ACES [Animals in Curriculum-based Ecosystem Studies] is to improve environmental and ocean literacy and to capture the interest of your middle and high school students, grade 7 and higher. Students will learn science within the context of the ocean, with high-quality curriculum-based activities, as they use satellite data to develop authentic inquiry skills.

ACES is an important, necessary expansion of Signals of Spring, an award-winning, classroom-based curriculum program in its 10th year, where in addition to learning formal science concepts, students use Earth imagery to explain the movement of animals that are tracked by satellites. The ACES curriculum also introduces the environmental issues the animals face, and the environments of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS).

Additional ACES one-week modules each focus on a particular marine animal, with specific curricular activities relating to the animal and issues facing them. Students study aspects of the animal's life history, conservation status, food web, and connections to ocean processes and remote sensing data. Modules include investigations of sea turtles, polar bears, albatrosses, and seals.

Preference is given to teacher teams of 2-3.

What do I get?

  • Standards-based, comprehensive Signals of Spring ocean science and ACES investigations curriculum with assessments, rubrics, and concept maps

  • A way to incorporate technology as a tool to teach science

What will students learn?

Selected topic areas in the curriculum include:


Life Science:

Cell Structures • Photosynthesis • Needs of Living Things • Food Webs • Biodiversity & Classification • Human Impacts on Environments • Conservation and Stewardship

Earth Science:

Water on Earth • Seasons • Landforms/Bathymetry • Density • Ocean Currents • Tides • Isolines • Air-Sea Interaction/Climate • Watersheds • Coriolis Effect • Climate Change

Science Process Skills:

Forming Research Questions & Hypotheses • Collecting & Organizing Data • Analyzing & Interpreting Data & Imagery • How to Research • Using Tools & Models • Measurement

Current ACES collaborators include:

  • U.S. Satellite Laboratory, Inc.
  • Oikonos - Ecosystem Knowledge
  • Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
  • Stanford University School of Education
  • Teachers College, Columbia University
  • WhaleNet
  • NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries Program
 Sponsored by:
NASA logoNational Aeronautics and
Space Administration

(NASA Award NCC5433)
NOAA logoNational Oceanic &
Atmospheric Administration

(NOAA Award NA06SEC4690006)

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