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Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – EXPLAIN


Students examine and interpret photo-mosaic imagery from Cheeca Rocks reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Using their background knowledge and observations from these images, they work to identify the nature and causes of change on coral reefs.


Stephanie Killingsworth 1,2,3 (view profile)

Dr. Amanda Waite 1 (view profile)

1 ANGARI Foundation
2 Conniston Middle School
3 UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute – Scientist in Every Florida School


Middle – High School Students


  • How do we know if coral reefs are changing?
  • How are coral reefs changing through time?
  • What causes change on coral reefs?


20 minutes


  • Smart Board, computers, or tablets with internet access for NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (Photo Mosaic Imagery Online)
  • Printed mosaics if tech mentioned above not available (Download Photo-Mosaics)
  • Digital or print notebook pages for student note taking


  1. Teacher briefly introduces class activities, the online platform used for viewing photo-mosaics and/or printed copies of the provided photo-mosaic imagery. [3 min]
  2. Students work independently or in small groups to study photo-mosaics from Cheeca Rocks reef site during different time periods. [12 min]
  3. Students use observation and investigative skills to explain what is happening to different corals in the images and how they know (Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Coral Indicators guide can be used for reference). [5 min]


Quality and relevancy of observations and interpretations from notebook pages can be evaluated. Also recommend a wrap up discussion, which can take the form of Activity 4 for evaluation.


Generation Ocean: Coral Reefs Partners

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