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Chesapeake Bay

Activity 4 (Explain): Algae: The Silent Killer

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Activity Summary

In this activity, students analyze graphs of data from Sykes Creek, a stream in Florida that was the site of a fish kill in 2016 (the fish kill isn’t revealed to students until the end). After looking at the graphs of algae and dissolved oxygen, they read about the connection between algae, dissolved oxygen, and decomposers. Finally, they use what they have learned from the graphs and the reading to explain what caused the fish kill.

Activity Objectives & Materials

Approximate Time: 60 minutes​


  • Students will interpret a graph and read a text to learn how algal blooms result in dead zones.



  • Computer & projector

  • Word wall words: dissolved oxygen, algae, algae bloom, decomposer


  • Reading: Algae & Dissolved Oxygen (double-entry journal)

Standards Connection




1. Frame the Activity


2. Graph 1: Algae

3. Graph 2: Dissolved Oxygen


4. Graphs 1 & 2 Combined

5. Building Background Knowledge Reading

6. Sensemaking Discussion

7. Return to Sykes Creek

8. March 20, 2016

9. Formative Assessment: Conclusion


For more information about On the Air 2020, contact:

Rebecca Davis, Education Manager


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© 2020 by Clean Air Partners.