The Dead Zone: Other Activities

The Dead Zone

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Other Classroom Activities & Projects

Homework/ Classwork:

    1. Students generate questions/answers on hypoxia issues. Prepare two questions relating to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico for class discussion.
    2. New Jersey is tired of being picked on. The governor has received complaints that scientists are giving the state a bad name by comparing the state’s size to the size of the dead zone. Come up with something different so that New Jersey will be happy. Determine an equivalent comparison in size of the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone anywhere in the world. Explain how you generated your equivalent. Information: The largest areal extent of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico occurred in July 2002 when its area reached 22,000 km2 (8,500 mi2).
    3. On average, the Mississippi River discharges 1.6 million tons of total nitrogen into the Gulf each year. Determine a meaningful equivalent to this weight/volume of nitrogen, e.g. number of an animal or thing that would weigh 1.6 million tons and how much space it would take up. For example, determine the number of ants that would weigh 1.6 million tons and how far that number would stretch end to end. You will need to find an average weight of the ant and an average length to provide an equivalent.
    4. Develop a concept map on any aspect of hypoxia or illustrate your ideas of how the Gulf becomes hypoxic in the summer.
    5. Read newspaper articles on the Dead Zone and critique the article using your knowledge and expertise on hypoxia. Did the author depict the issue accurately? What would you have stressed in the article? Did the article represent the issue accurately?
    6. Write a letter to the editor concerning an issue related to hypoxia or make some demand for legislation or changes in town/city practices.
    7. Visit the NOAA State of the Coast website and listen to scientist interviews concerning hypoxia. Compare their oral discussion to the written summary listed on the website. Do all of the scientists agree on the issue?


  • Project 1 — In groups or individually, use hypoxia as a theme to develop a game that will be played by classmates. The game may be any type of game (e.g. board, card, word, physical or strategy game, etc.), but hypoxia must be a theme.
  • Project 2 — Students will prepare an advertisement (commercial) in any media form and present it live or on video to the class. Time limit is three minutes for complete advertisement presentation. The commercial may be in any form for radio, TV, magazine, billboard,etc.
  • Project 3 — Develop a travel brochure covering the topic of hypoxia.
  • Project 4 — Write an article for the school or town newspaper discussing/educating the public about hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Project 5 — Develop a public service announcement (PSA) to educate fellow students/parents/public about hypoxia and solutions to remedy the problem.



Geography Activity
Below is a list of countries and water bodies where hypoxia is known to occur. On a black-and-white map, label and color all water bodies that have been hypoxic. Label and shade in countries and states that border hypoxic water bodies. For each area, discuss or list possible factors that may contribute to hypoxia in those area.

North America
Body of Water Location
Hillsborough Bay Florida
Long Island Sound New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island
Gulf of Mexico Louisiana
ChesapeakeBay Maryland
Mobile Bay Alabama
Pamlico Sound North Carolina
Perdido Bay Florida
Saanich Inlet British Columbia, Canada
Rappahannock River Virginia
Body of Water Location
Arhus Bay Denmark
Baltic Sea, Central Sweden, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
Bornholm Basin, S. Baltic Sea Denmark
German Bight, North Sea Germany
Gullsmarfjord Sweden (West Coast)
Kattegat Sweden- Denmark
Kiel Bay Germany
Laholm Bay Sweden
Limfjord Denmark
Lough Ine Ireland
Loch Creran Scotland
Oslofjord Norway
Swedish west coast fjords Sweden
Sommone Bay France
Sullom Voe Shetland
Byfjord Sweden
Idefjord Sweden, Norway
Gulf of Finland Finland, Estonia
Caspian Sea Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
Body of Water Location
Adriatic Sea Italy, Slovenia, Croatia
Aegean Sea Greece, Turkey
Black Sea Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia
Elefsis Bay Greece, Turkey
Gulf of Trieste Italy, Slovenia
Sea of Azov Ukraine, Russia
Australia – Asia
Body of Water Location
Seto Inland Sea Japan
Tome Cove Japan
Port Hacking Australia
Tolo Harbor Hong Kong
Yellow Sea China