Algae Bloom Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about algae blooms, their detrimental effects, and what creates them. Students will go on to learn about ways they might combat the formation of harmful algae blooms.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain eutrophication.
  • describe some of the harmful affects of algae blooms, both to aquatic organisms and to people.
  • list ways to combat the formation of algae blooms.


Approximately 60 minutes for the main lesson and 3-5 minutes per day for two weeks for data collection.

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

Materials Needed


Engaging Thinking Before the Lesson

  • Show the class a picture of a pond covered by an algae bloom.
  • Lead a discussion in which students theorize about the causes of the bloom and the possible effects for the organisms in the pond beneath it.
  • Introduce the concept of eutrophication and have the class theorize about the origins of the increased levels of nutrients in the water.

Hands-on Science

  • Take one of the glass containers, add a specified amount of water to it, then use the dropper to add a specific amount of algae to the water. The amounts are not important as long as they are consistent. Be sure to use fresh or salt water based on the type of algae. Cover the vessel tightly with aluminum foil, label it as the control container, and place it on a window ledge in a location where it will get direct sunlight.
  • Distribute supplies to each group. They should use the same amount of water and drops of algal culture as the control container. Each group will then add additional drops of liquid fertilizer. Assign specific amounts of fertilizer for each group and have them label their containers accordingly. This will replicate the eutrophic environments that cause algae blooms. Place these containers alongside the control container.
  • Have groups predict the outcome, and begin their daily data collection. Each day the groups will note the growth of the algae culture in their container. Continue this portion of the project over the next two weeks.

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