USA S&E Festival Coffee Break 1 - January 2022


Earth and Space Science

The Ocean

Author Post
Tracie O'Keefe Tracie O'Keefe 780 Points

Learning about the ocean's currents and how it affects the weather is an interesting thing to know about especially for the fact that we are surrounded by it. It is a good thing to educate ourselves about something that is as powerful as the ocean. I am very eager to read on more so that I can have a unit to present to my students so that they can also learn about why sometimes we have hurricanes and how the ocean works.

Karen Carlough Karen Carlough 875 Points

I teach 6th graders Weather and Water, I will have to discuss the ocean and ocean currents because they are now on the NJ standards. I think there are some Science objects about this.I need to brush up on the ocean currents. I first teach briefly about the atmosphere, but never really go into oceans. However, I think when I teach convection I use smoke and a candle to show the movement of air. There are some models/experiments done with colored water which i think i will plan to include this year.

Hi Tracie and Karen

We do have a number of science objects about the effects of oceans and global climate patterns. Here is a collection of 13 resources from the NSTA Learning Center on
Ocean's Effect on Weather and Climate: Elementary
A collection of resources for elementary school teachers on the topic of the ocean's effect on weather and climate.

Let us know if you find them useful to your teaching elementary students

Karen Carlough Karen Carlough 875 Points

Thanks Arlene, I will be looking through the power point. I started climographs with my 6th graders, which the graphs of the oceans reminded me of that graphic set up. My students had a hard time with the climographs but I might use the ocean graphs to help them with longitude and latitude. They need the reinforcement. Do you know if there is a resource to get density info for oceans along with the surface temperatures so I could do a similar graphing activity?

Tina Harris Tina Harris 65805 Points

There is all kinds of data and links to more data on the Datastreme Ocean Project website at I do not know if this is precisely what you are looking for, but they also have links to interactive maps and such on temperature and salinity, for example.

Karen Carlough Karen Carlough 875 Points

Thanks, I will take a look at it, there seems like there is plenty of information I could use either way.

Gladys Lopez Gladys Lopez 2985 Points

Anything to do with nature, I am a fan of when teaching science. The more hands on the better! If it was up to me, my students and I would go deep sea diving! But since not every school has that type of budget, we'll have to make due! Teaching about the ocean can be a lot of fun. Theres something that every child can connect to in the lesson. Wether it's there favorite animal being a dolphin, a cruise they took with their family, or their favorite disney movie being the little mermaid, I'm sure you wont have a problem making this lesson interesting to your students. I think something great that you could do is have the students keep a journal where there a Captain of a boat at sea. Everyday when they learn something new about the ocean, they have to create a fictional story in their journal but using the real facts that you taught them in class that day.

Melissa Bravo Melissa Bravo 3905 Points

I would say that one important thing I think about when hearing the word ocean is protecting it. You can go on a field trip with the kids to a beach and do a clean up and talk about how our waste affects their environment and how harm we cause to the different ecosystems that are part of the ocean. While there you can discuss anything about the ocean as they will become more motivated to learn because they're actually engaged in something rather than a boring lecture. If you are unable to go on a field trip you can have them talk about what they do when they go to the beach and explain how that is part of the ocean. Kids love the beach so if you hook them into that topic they'll want to know more about the ocean.

Tina Harris Tina Harris 65805 Points

I was helping a student look for data sets on sea-surface temperature and severe weather. I remembered at an NSTA conference in one session someone stated that NOAA was trying to make their datasets more user friendly, so I googled "NOAA education datasets" and discovered their new website that has both datasets and school resources called Science On a Sphere (SOS)

You might want to check this out for the salinity and other information - it looks pretty but I haven't had much time to look over it so let me know what you find :)

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68585 Points

Discovery of Sound in the Sea (DOSITS; is one of the most comprehensive Internet resources on underwater sound. The DOSITS website and its associated educational materials introduce the science and uses of underwater sound and provide easy, accurate access to peer-reviewed content on the effects of underwater sound on marine animals. The DOSITS team is excited to announce that the DOSITS Booklet, a 16-page publication based on the DOSITS website, is now available in Spanish. A pdf version of the Spanish booklet, El Descubrimiento del Sonido en el Mar, is now available for download in the the Resources section of the DOSITS website. In addition to the Spanish booklet, a new, inquiry-based activity is also available. Sound Off! incorporates the science of underwater sound, including sound movement and measurement, into an interactive game. Objectives of the activity include learning how underwater sound is visualized, recognizing the differences between sounds, and understanding how sound can help scientists explore the ocean. If you have any questions or would like to receive more information about the DOSITS project, please contact Holly Morin (

James Johnson James Johnson 95308 Points

Here's a really great professional development opportunity hosted by the American Meteorological Society at the U.S. Naval Academy: I took it once and would go back in a heartbeat if the would let me.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68585 Points

Are your students interested in all thing ocean? In this issue of Pacific Island Network Quarterly students can learn about Vegetation Mapping Accuracy Assessment (cooler than it sounds) in the article "The Whole Ground Truth". There are also articles that focus on Seals, and a special look at corals in "Life on the Decks of Sunken Ships". Even students in our most land locked locations will find these stories interesting and informative. So why done you check out the current issue of Pacific Island Network Quarterly.

James Johnson James Johnson 95308 Points

Hi Pamela. I will check it out! Thanks for the info! jj

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