The devastating impact of climate change on coral reefs has reinforced our need to better understand their causes, especially the ones related to humans. Simultaneously, we need to raise awareness about the significance of reefs, both as an ecological host to twenty-five percent of marine life and as a key economic resource for millions of people. Opportunities afforded through coral reef research coupled with advances in computational modeling platforms may provide a unique opportunity to introduce the study of corals into K-12 STEM curricula by combining computational thinking (CT) constructs to build computational models that allow students to explore and systematically study the effects of climate change on the reefs.
In our C2STEM Marine Biology curriculum, students are introduced to this issue, in addition to key biology concepts such as symbiotic relationships and ecosystem carrying capacity through the programming of computational models of the impact of climate change on coral reefs. In addition, students receive an introduction on how Artificial Intelligence research is helping scientist better understand coral reef damage due to climate change. As such, the curriculum is divided into: Increasing Ocean Temperatures, Changes in Ocean pH Levels, and Computer Science in Climate Change Research