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Topic: Properties of the Ocean

Theme: Energy

Our ship has been asked to explore the energies that influence the ocean such as surface circulation, currents, waves, tides, and vertical motion. We are faced with three problems requiring immediate attention. Your team is being asked to choose one of the three and go on a fact finding mission. Other teams will be assigned the remaining two tasks. Give your full effort to your chosen task and report your findings to the Admiral (teacher).

  1. What causes waves and why are they different in size and shape?

    To find our the answer to this and more, check out Ocean World

    Click on the WAVES page of Ocean World. Scroll down to the links at the bottom of the WAVES page. There is a lot of information in the links to help you in your search. Click on THE ROLE OF THE OCEAN IN WEATHER. Read the short poem by Langston Hughes at the beginning of the page.

    Why did he say "it is not good for water to be so still that way"?

  2. One of the ship's crew retrieved (pulled) a bottle from the ocean early yesterday morning. The note inside read: BEWARE the WAVES! They are your friend as well as your foe (enemy). Enjoy their pleasure, but be wary (careful) of their destruction. This sounds foreboding (like a prediction of bad things to come). IS THIS A JOKE? WHAT DOES THE MESSAGE MEAN?

    Find out all you ever wanted to know about waves and then some at Ocean World

    Click on WAVES and you're half-way there. After reading all that page has to offer, scroll down to the links chart. All the links are "very interesting", but the one you may want to zero in on is Neptune's Web: Waves and Tides. Just click on the title on the links chart and you'll be on your way to the site.

    • How can waves be a pleasure?
    • How can they be a foe?
    • How many types of waves are there?
    • Do the different types ever meet and combine their forces?--or better yet, do their forces oppose one another? What kind of scenario (situation) would we experience on a ship caught in this predicament?
  3. Captain Seamore asked us to sail up the coast so he could see from the deck of the ship his boyhood home on the edge of the sea. He was unable to find it. Nothing looked as he remembered it. It wasn't until we checked the coordinates (lattitude and longitude) that he realized we had passed it. But it was not at all like he remembered. WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED? WAS HIS MEMORY FAULTY OR HAD THE COASTLINE CHANGED?
  • Find out how coastlines change.
    • What causes the change?
  • Find examples elsewhere in the world where coastlines have changed drastically or are undergoing noticeable change as we sail.
  • Find the facts and evidence to get you started at Ocean World

Click on the WAVES page of Ocean World. Scroll down to the links at the bottom of the WAVES page. The links are all good, but you might really want to take a look at Carolina Coastal Science and Louisiana Coastal Erosion: The Effects of Storms. Just click on these titles on our link chart and you will automatically be linked to the site of your click.

Create a spreadsheet that displays the names of the coastal areas, their geographical locations (lattitude/longitude), and the type of modification (change) the coastlines have undergone. Are there any major problems as a result of the change/s? Why is it worth knowing such information?

Lesson Ideas created/adapted by Margaret Hammer (Graduate Research Assistant) and Judith Kenworthy (Technology Mentor Fellowship Associate) Texas A&M University. All comments and questions can be directed to