Challenge Options

Students interested in furthering the academic rigor of their coursework beyond the syllabus may do so via several challenge options. 

Students should realize that challenge options are (1) incredibly time demanding, (2) designed to discuss material beyond the 10th grade level, (3) require a substantial amount of self-motivation and personal initiative  and (4) are conducted in addition to the assigned projects. 

Students interested in challenge options should ASK THEIR INSTRUCTOR FOR DETAILS. 

Several challenge options are offered below.  Additional and/or revised options may be proposed by students during the semester. 


Marine Science:

I'm a sucker for anything that has to do with the ocean.  In addition, ocean science is one of the most interdisciplinary subjects we have.  Concepts regarding marine science span the gamut: chemistry, biology, physics, geology, economics, management, art, mathematics, policy, conservation, engineering, education, photography, videography, tourism, pollution, etc.  The point is - there's something for everyone when it comes to the ocean.  

Here are some sites that are a font of information when it comes to oceans.  Take a look and find one that you think is interesting.  Pitch me an idea.  If you don't have one, I have lots.  

Census of Marine Life


Redesigning this Website:

We need to revamp this DP to make it (1) more aesthetically pleasing, (2) more functional, (3) more accessible.  Interested students should come to my office hours and show me a website that you have already designed or contributed to creating.


Univerisities across the nation have made available a variety of courses, seminars, and discussions directly to the public via iTunesU.  These are free of charge, and examples include a series of expert discussions from the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University or from the Yale School of Forestry.  As a first step, students should identify a podcast(s) which is personally intriguing and which can be connected to the class.  From there, specific projects will be designed on an individual basis with the instructor.      

Mission Blue Voyage

In April 2010, a spectacular group of marine scientists, deep sea explorers, technology innovators, policy makers, business leaders, environmentalists, activists and artists gathered for an epic adventure into the blue. Over four days, attendees experienced seven fully programmed TED sessions.  In addition, they explored the surrounding landscape and sea, designed to stimulate the intellect and stir the soul, discovering up close the wonders that make the Land of Darwin one of the world’s most unparalleled adventure travel destinations.

The result was a collection of commitments, funding, ideas, and riveting talks.  16 of those talks have been released on the TED website.  This project begins with reviewing those talks to find out what the brightest and most accomplishments experts are discussing when it comes to the current issues regarding our blue planet.

What is the Federal Government doing about Ocean Acidification?  

As of Fall 2010, this project is being spearheaded by Kenan Millet.  Interested students can meet with Kenan or myself to discuss the status of this project and your potential involvement.    

Often referred to as the “other CO2 problem” ocean acidification (OA) is a process whereby the pH of the ocean becomes more acidic due to an increase in atmospheric CO2.  The magnitude and impacts of ocean acidification are still being studied today.  This project looks briefly at the science of OA and then focuses on the federal governments legislative response.  

Open Learning Initiative

Hosted by Carnegie Mellon University, the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) makes available a variety of free courses and also leverages its users to collect data on how to improve the delivery of open materials .  Students interested in expanding their knowledge, sampling college level work, and participating in an experiment that provides feedback to students, teachers, course designers and science researchers may be interested in this project.  First, check out the website and identify a course you would be interested in.  Next, talk to Chris directly.

Research Standards:

Students may choose to participate in the challenge option by adopting the same standards as used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when conducting research – that is, to only use peer-reviewed scientific literature.  Students will need a San Diego City Public Library card in order to access the online database of selected journals.    

Experimental Design:

Our class has been blessed with a variety of lab equipment.  Studetns interested in working strongly with these components will be presented with a piece of equipment and asked to develop an experiment or demonstration highlighting the purpose and uses of the equipment. 

The Real World

In order to make the connections between our lives and the course as contemporary and personal as possible, students are encouraged to share inspirations from their daily life that they see connected to marine chemistry.  Found a newspaper article?  Saw an advertisement?  Know of a cool upcoming event?  Found a new interpretation of your favorite song?  Let us know.  We can almost always stop what we’re doing to talk about the world around us.  In fact, that’s the whole point.  Projects around this concept will vary strongly  based on the connection, and could range from coordinating a class field trip to leading a seminar series for the class.