Sunday, November 7, 2010

Module V The Ocean, The Science, and Our Connection

The Learning
The science behind the Gulf Stream was very interesting.  I couldn't believe the connections to the convection currents occurring in the athenosphere and the convection cells in our atmosphere.  I have been following the chemical changes in the ocean for several years and found the salinity changes to be a big part of my own curriculum when it comes to density and freezing and boiling points.  One of the first labs we do is look at how and why a solute can lower a solution's melting point and why the DOT is salting our roads.  Its an eye opener for the kids:  "But I thought the salt melts the ice?"  "Doesn't the salt give the sidewalks some traction so we don't slip?"

Google Earth
Here is my Google Earth image of the Gulf Stream and the continental shelf off the East coast.  How similar they appear!
Google Earth
I found several great articles in my favorite magazine Earth-(formally known as Geotimes).  One article in particular follows the interview of geochemist Wally Broecker who discovered the connection between the massive systems of currents that move large amounts of heat and salt around the planet. 
For the teacher, it shows an insiders take on doing good science, how facts come together and how hypotheses are formed and tested.
I had taken a class with some colleagues awhile back that included some of the new research going on under the sea with submersibles.  I found some of the pictures to be fantastic and one topic that might relate to our Module this week.  There are huge salt lakes under the Gulf of Mexico that blow your mind when you see the video.  I could not find the original video but found some websites that talk about the natural history.

The Connections
One connection to the people that inhabit those coastal habitats and the changing ocean is the biochemical change I have been following closely for 3-4 years.  Ocean Acidification can have huge effects on those people that rely on ocean resources especially shellfish.  My students have seen the connection with their everyday uses of acids and bases.  Our chemistry unit looks at acids and bases, especially on how to measure and identify.  The above website really give the layperson a good resource on how acids can be damaging to the oceans with increased carbon dioxide production.  Imagine clams, oysters,and other shell fish not being able to  make their protective shells and the damage to those that rely on this resource:  Sea mammals to humans.

The module really makes connections between the sun, Earth, its winds, oceans, and the interconnections of a truly living and breathing entity.   Is Gaia alive and well in the 21st century?

The Resources
Google Earth continually amazes me and I am glad for the hands on assignments that "make" me explore the program.  I think the add content option to be a great addition to my classroom.  The real-time earthquakes KML files are an excellent teaching tool.

The YouTube videos were another matter.  ASD has given teachers a little more leeway to access the content from the classroom, but the passwords and hoops you must go through really make it not an easy resource to use. 

The discovery videos on the other hand are easy to use, download and manipulate for archiving for next year's lessons. 

 Some Comments
Cruised to Eric's blog and found a great creation myth shared by both the Maori  and Hawaiians.
Next I went to Janet's great site and found links to ocean alive I would love to use in my classroom.
More great resources from Cheryl and the Lake ice studies happening here in Alaska!

Had to share this pic of the Comet flyby.  Cool stuff happening every!
NASA's Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe flew past Comet Hartley 2 only 435 miles from the comet's active nucleus    


1 comment:

  1. Konrad, I posted the videos in my blog, feel free to use them. It's under Module V