Billion Oyster Project

Dissolved Oxygen and Oysters - Part 2


Water Quality Lessons



Class Periods




Subject Areas



This pair of lessons can help you integrate reading into the process of inquiry. Students use concept maps to organize their ideas and questions about the complex relationships involving oysters and dissolved oxygen. Students then use a library of texts both to find information and to develop informed, follow-up questions that can be the basis for future investigations.



Materials and Resources


Ideally, each student can access the internet so as to read texts, closely examine diagrams, and watch videos as part of their research. If this is the case, provide digital access to the Resource: Oysters and Dissolved Oxygen Library. It’s great to print it out as well, so students have the option to underline, annotate, etc. by hand. If you wish, provide very large sheets of paper for complex concept maps!

Before you get started

Tips for Teachers

You’ll need to read the library in advance, or as much of it as you want to use, and make the best judgment about which texts/images/video are the best fit for your students. Ideally they will get a range of materials, including some that are fairly straightforward for them, as well as some that are a definite challenge. Before you start Day 2, you’ll need to gather a list of statements from students’ concept maps from Day 1. This process is described more fully in Handouts. This pair of lessons will make more sense for students after introducing students to the general concept of dissolved oxygen, for example in the BOP lesson “Saturation and Dissolved Oxygen”





Instruction Plan


Ask your students:

  1. Yesterday, what were a few new links you added to the concept map from your readings?

  2. What are some of the new questions you have after doing that?

  3. Which were your favorite texts from yesterday, and why?


Tell your students:

Today we’ll go even deeper into the relationships between oysters and dissolved oxygen, by looking at a larger library of texts.  The process for using the texts is exactly like yesterday.  The differences are:

  • You know more now

  • You have some new questions now

  • You’re getting more and longer texts to choose from now -- but you still use them the same way, a little at a time


Students receive Library on Dissolved Oxygen and Oysters -- Part II.  They continue their research, filling in more links on their concept maps.

If students are stumped, try giving them a different note-taking format.  For example, they could underline all the phrases about oysters in a particular passage, and then sort them into categories, such as relevant/irrelevant, and then maybe new/not new ideas for our class.


Before they do this part, it’s a great idea to provide students with a list of statements they can work from, gathered from their concept maps from Day 1.

Ask your students to:

Take two (or more) true statements from our concept maps, and put them together to make a follow-up question.  For example:

Statement: oysters need dissolved oxygen.

Statement: it looks like there is less dissolved oxygen in deeper water.

Question:  Does this mean that oysters need to live in shallower water?

If your students end on really great, informed questions like this one, point that out, explain how that kind of question is different from a completely naive question -- noting that both kinds are crucially important -- and congratulate them!  

Point out that science is as much about asking great questions as it is about finding answers and, if you can, promise to come back to some of their questions in future lessons.

At least you can keep adding to both lists -- you might call the two lists “Initial Questions” and “Follow-up Questions” -- and keep both running lists posted permanently as a guide to the class’ investigations and developing thinking.  

At best, plan to run future lessons exploring one or more of their informed questions in greater depth.  You could do that using the same set of texts or a different set of texts, interviews with local experts, field observation, classroom experiments, and probably many other approaches, too!


CCLS - ELA Science & Technical Subjects

    • Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

CCLS - Mathematics

    • Describing the nature of the attribute under investigation, including how it was measured and its units of measurement.

NGSS - Cross-Cutting Concepts

  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

    • Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale.
  • Stability and Change

    • Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

NGSS - Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter

    • Gases and liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other.

NYC Science Scope & Sequence - Units

  • Grade 6, Unit 2

    • Weather and Atmosphere

NYS Science Standards - Key Ideas

  • PS Key Idea 2

    • Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land.
  • PS Key Idea 3

    • Matter is made up of particles whose properties determine the observable characteristics of matter and its reactivity

NYS Science Standards - Major Understandings

    • Water circulates through the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere in what is known as the water cycle.
    • Substances have characteristic properties. Some of these properties include color, odor, phase at room temperature, density, solubility, heat and electrical conductivity, hardness, and boiling and freezing points.
    • Solubility can be affected by the nature of the solute and solvent, temperature, and pressure. The rate of solution can be affected by the size of the particles, stirring, temperature, and the amount of solute already dissolved.

NYS Science Standards - MST

    • Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science