Oceanic Circulation: What Keeps the Ocean in Motion?
- Understand the ocean's impact on global climate.
- Investigate and describe how temperature differences drive oceanic water movement.
- Explain how climate change can affect oceanic circulation systems.
OverviewWhy is the ocean vital to our planet? There are many reasons, but one important one is that the ocean is a major player in regulating our weather and climate through currents. In this lesson plan, your students will model ocean currents with cups, water, and food coloring, and explore how temperature and density differences set deep ocean waters in motion to create a global oceanic circulation system.
NGSS AlignmentThis lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
Materials per group of 3–4 students:
Materials for teacher preparation and demonstration:
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Area of Science
Oceanic circulation, convection, climate, density, temperature
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
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