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Ocean Acidification Education Toolkit

Pacific Northwest

This toolkit utilizes effective communication strategies to convey the significance of ocean acidification effects and empower mitigation actions within communities.

Hey! What’s All That Commotion In Our Ocean?

An Ocean Acidification Toolkit

What's Inside:

This Ocean Acidification Toolkit includes four modules that have led to increased ocean acidification literacy for ages 9 and older. All modules can be used independently or in their entirety and average about 15 minutes. Every module includes the ocean acidification literacy goal, a value that can be used to better engage or connect with the audience, discussion points, supporting questions for the audience, and solutions in which the audience can take part. In addition, an optional script that uses specific language will guide the instructor in successful and effective ocean acidification dialogue.

At the conclusion of the modules, students can take the Ocean Acidification Ambassador Pledge.

Toolkit Downloads

Toolkit Introduction

The Toolkit Introduction provides background for teachers, materials lists, and takeaways from the lesson.

Optional Script

The Optional Script uses specific language for instructors to create a and effective OA dialogue.

OA Ambassador Pledge​

At the conclusion of the modules, students can take the Ocean Acidification Ambassador Pledge

Slide Deck

The Slide Deck visually enhances each module and provides opportunities for engagement.

Module I - Our Ocean: The Giant Sponge

The aim is for students to understand the difference between uncontrolled and regular carbon dioxide through inquiry and examples.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify differences between uncontrolled and regular carbon dioxide
  • Understand that the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • Understand that more uncontrolled carbon dioxide results in increased absorption of carbon dioxide into our ocean
  • Increased carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is the primary cause of ocean acidification
  • Importance of a healthy ocean and action-based solutions
Module II - Our Changing Ocean

This demonstration will assist in explaining how ocean acidification has changed our ocean over time.

Learning Objectives

  • Uncontrolled carbon dioxide from human activities like burning fossil fuels is causing ocean acidification now
  • Identify the current increased acidity of our ocean, as compared to the past
  • The future of our ocean depends on the choices we make now
Module III - Swim, Snack, Sink

This activity will show some of the impacts that ocean acidification has on some of our ocean’s sea creatures. Ocean acidification will affect pteropods’ (sea butterflies) ability to build their shells because it makes calcium carbonate, a key shell building block, less available.

Learning Objectives

  • Calcium carbonate is an important building block for pteropods and other shellfish.
  • Ocean acidification is lessening the amount of calcium carbonate available which can weaken shells and affect the food web.
Module IV - Senseless Salmon!

This game will help players understand the impacts ocean acidification has on marine life, specifically salmon. Ocean acidification dulls salmon’s ability to smell. Salmon use their sense of smell to migrate and detect predators.

Learning Objectives

  • Ocean acidification can affect animal physiology, specifically it has been found to dull a salmon’s sense of smell.

Education and Outreach

Education and outreach are vital to improving the public’s awareness and understanding of ocean acidification. This includes not only increasing the general awareness that ocean acidification is happening now, but also understanding the current scientific knowledge and impacts of our ocean’s changing chemistry.

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The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:


Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare


Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes


Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally


On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

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You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
       More for Taking Community Action