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Education: Activities & Documents

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Booklet: Teaching Physical Concepts in Oceanography: An Inquiry Based Approach
This supplement to Oceanography magazine focuses on educational approaches to help engage students in learning and offers a collection of hands-on/minds-on activities for teaching physical concepts that are fundamental in oceanography. These key concepts include density, pressure, buoyancy, heat and temperature, and gravity waves.

The authors focus on physical concepts for two reasons. First, students whose attraction to marine science stems from an interest in ocean organisms are typically unaware that physics is fundamental to understanding how the ocean, and all the organisms that inhabit it, function. Second, existing marine education and outreach programs tend to emphasize the biological aspects of marine sciences. While many K-12 activities focus on marine biology, comparatively few have been developed for teaching about the physical and chemical aspects of the marine environment (e.g., Ford and Smith, 2000, and a collection of activities on the Digital Library for Earth System Education website.

The ocean provides an exciting context for science education in general and physics in particular. Using the ocean as a platform to which specific physical concepts can be related helps to provide the environmental relevance that science students are often seeking. Credit: Karp-Boss, L., E. Boss, H. Weller, J. Loftin, and J. Albright.