Cause and Effects of Melting Ice

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1 TOPIC: Water World - Ocean currents: locations and directions, how they influence temperatures RELEVANT SOLS: Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems 5.6 The student will investigate and understand characteristics of the ocean environment. Key concepts include a) geological characteristics; b) physical characteristics; and c) ecological characteristics. Related Essential Understanding - design an investigation (including models and simulations) related to physical characteristics of the ocean environment (depth, salinity, formation of waves, and currents, such as the Gulf Stream); RESOURCES: Lesson Plans Going Up, Going Down. Taken from VDOE Enhanced Scope and Sequence Guide, Grade 5, pages (File is attached.) This is a lesson involving a hands-on experiment showing the effect of temperature wind on layers of colored (food coloring) water. Cause and Effects of Melting Ice e.pdf This is a lesson plan developed by the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) for Grade 5 and above. In this hand-on lesson, students will learn how melting ice as a result of climate change can affect sea level. Ocean Currents(Grades 3-6, excerpt from Ready-to-Use Earth Astronomical Science Activities for Grades 5-12) This lesson (attached) includes two demonstrations to show the effects of wind, temperature, land masses, and water density on ocean currents. Both demonstrations utilize common household supplies. 1

2 Web Sites This is a basic map showing the major ocean currents. SOL Ocean Battleship Game- a version of the game of battleship in which students must answer questions about the oceans in order to sink an opponent s ships SOL Ocean Millionaire Game- In order to win, students must correctly answer questions about key vocabulary terms, including salinity, deep currents, and surface currents. Videos A short introduction to currents, emphasizing types and locations. This would be a good film to show projected on a smartboard, pausing the video and adding names/labels to the map. This is a TeacherTube video and can be downloaded for free from the TeacherTube site. When you click on the link, you ll see a screen with an ad. Click on the small X in the upper right hand corner of the small movie screen and the ad goes away and the movie starts. Deep Currents- Bill Nye the Science Guy This is a short video where Bill Nye explains salinity and thermohaline currents. Trash on the Spin Cycle This is a short video explaining how currents in the Pacific create garbage patches that are harmful to nearby wildlife. Waves and Currents This animated video from Scholastic Study Jams includes explanations of tsunamis, waves, the Coriolis Effect, surface currents, and deep currents. There is also a quiz and definitions of key vocabulary listed on the webpage. 2

3 Book Smartboard Activities Ocean Questions Set for Smartboard A short set of interactive questions about Earth s oceans. This could be used as a review that students do individually or as a whole class. Learning About Tides, Currents, Breezes, and Waves e04027fc5f60 This is an interactive lesson involving matching and fill in the blank. Each listed topic has an accompanying activity. Students can test their knowledge and then check their answers. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns Recommended Age 10 and up This book is about an oceanographer who tracks the journey of trash through the oceans. The author uses the tracking of trash to explain ocean currents and how pollution can negatively impact our environment. 3

4 Going Up, Going Down (Adapted from an activity included in the Educator s Guide for the NASA SciFiles video program The Wacky Water Cycle. Used by permission.) Organizing Topic Investigating the Ocean Environment Overview Students investigate the movement of warm and cool ocean currents. Related Standards of Learning 5.6b Objectives The students should be able to explain the formation of ocean currents and locate the Gulf Stream. Materials needed Clear glass casserole dishes Tap water Hot tap water Small waterproof zip bags Clip clothespins or small clamps Two different colors of food coloring Small rocks Ice cubes Thermometers Science journals Copies of an ocean currents map, such as that found at Instructional activity Content/Teacher Notes Thermohaline circulation is the name for currents that occur when colder, saltier (denser) water sinks and displaces water that is warmer and less salty and dense. In a cycle known as the global conveyor belt, warm water near the equator is pushed by normally strong winds toward the poles and begins to cool. In a few regions, such as the North Atlantic, cold, salty water sinks to the ocean floor. This water then travels in the deep ocean back towards the equator and begins to rise to replace the water that is being pushed away from the equator by the winds. This cool water rising to the surface is known as upwelling. This entire process, which may take a thousand years to complete, helps regulate the climate of the Earth as heat is transported from the equator to the Polar Regions and cooling water is transported to the equator. During a 4

5 period of El Niño, the winds along the equator are weaker than usual and may actually blow in the opposite direction. Warm water begins to pile up along the nearby coasts. Where the ocean is warm, more clouds form and more rain falls. Normal weather patterns around the world are therefore disrupted by this change in ocean temperature. NASA collects satellite data to measure the sea surface and temperatures and uses the data to make maps of the ocean. From these maps, scientists can monitor the speed and direction of ocean currents. Introduction 1. Ask students whether they have ever heard of the Gulf Stream. If so, what do they think it is? Write their responses on board. Explain to students that the Gulf Stream is a huge current and that they will be doing an activity that shows what currents are and how they are formed. The activity will also help them see why the Gulf Stream is important to people living along the East Coast. Procedure 1. Put the students into small groups, and give each group a set of materials. 2. Have each group fill a casserole dish with room-temperature tap water and let the pan rest for a while so that the water settles and comes closer to room temperature. While this is happening, have them place a small rock in each of two plastic bags. 3. Have the groups fill one of their bags with hot water from the faucet (CAUTION: not scalding!), seal it, place it in one end of the glass dish, and use a clothespin to clip it in place (see diagram). 4. Have the groups fill their other bag with ice cubes, seal it, put it in the dish opposite the warm water bag, and use another clothespin to clip the bag to the dish. 5. Now, tell the students to carefully add 4 drops of food color to the water next to the bag of hot water and 4 drops of a different color to the water next to the bag of ice cubes. Have them observe the movement of the colors in the water for several minutes and then record their observations and illustrate them in their science journals. 6. Have a student in each group gently blow across the top of the water surface, and have all students observe what happens to the colored waters and record their observations. 7. Have another student blow across the top of the water from the other side and all students observe and record. 8. Have the groups repeat steps 2 7 and measure the temperature at the surface and bottom of the warm end of the dish at each step. Have them record the temperatures and explain what is happening. 5

6 Observations and Conclusions 1. Have the student groups explain what happened to the water near the colder end of the pan and what happened to the water near the warmer end of the pan. 2. Ask: When you began to blow across the water, adding wind power to the water currents, how did they change? Why? 3. Discuss the factors that might change the flow of ocean currents. Include a discussion of how changes in the ocean currents affect the Earth. Sample assessment Assess students knowledge on the basis of the Observation and Conclusion discussion and the notes and illustrations in the students science journals. Follow-up/extension Have students use a map of ocean currents, such as the one found at Have them notice the difference in current flow between the northern and southern hemispheres, and discuss the reasons for this difference. To demonstrate this phenomenon and help students learn more about Coriolis effect, use the experiment Round and Round We Go found in the NASA SciFiles episode The Case of the Phenomenal Weather (see Resources ). Have students examine satellite image maps of ocean temperatures and make their own edible ocean map by using colored gelatin and lemon sherbet. For directions, see Have students use the Websites listed below to research some key information about the ocean. Resources BlueFrontier Oceans for Life. National Geographic. Features many classroom activities. Bridge: Sea Grant Ocean Science Education Center. Virginia Institute of Marin Science. Offers many ocean-related resources. The Case of the Phenomenal Weather. NASA SciFiles. Click Archives Season The Case of the Phenomenal Weather Download the Full Guide. The Case of the Wacky Water Cycle. NASA SciFiles. Click Season The Case of the Wacky Water Cycle Download the Full Guide. 6

7 The Gulf Stream Voyage. The Stevens Institute of Technology: Center for Improved Engineeringand Science Education (CIESE). Ocean Planet: Interdisciplinary Marine Science Activities. Smithsonian Institution. Science and Technology Focus Oceanography. Office of Naval Research. Contains some great resources on oceanography and astronomy Surface Ocean Current Map. PhysicalGeography.net Fundamentals of Physical Geography. 7

8 Ocean Currents Grade Levels: 3-6 Objectives Students will map the patterns of the major ocean currents. Students will learn about the influences of wind, water temperature, landmasses, and water density on currents. Materials Tin pie plates Water Oregano or chili powder (or any herb that floats) Paper or plastic straws Food coloring 150 ml beakers Hot plate (if hot tap water is not available) Table salt Map of the world Reference materials Procedures 1. Point out that ocean currents are driven by the wind and influenced by the landmasses that obstruct the flow of water as well as the density and temperature of the water. 2. Demonstration 1:Fill a tin pie plate to the inner rim with cold tap water. 3. Sprinkle a teaspoon of herb (oregano or chili powder) over the surface. 4. Using a plastic or paper straw, gently blow across the middle of the surface from one side of the pan. 5. Write a sentence to describe the patterns created by the motion of the herbs. 6. Students should observe that the water is rippled by the artificial wind they create and that the currents on the surface circulate around the edges of the pan. Point out that the wind they created is analogous to the Equatorial Currents flowing west at the Earth's equator. These currents are forced into a clockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and a counterclockwise rotation in the 8

9 Southern Hemisphere because of the Earth's rotation and the landmasses that obstruct the waters' flow. 7. Demonstration 2:If hot tap water is unavailable, use a hot plate to warm 50 millileters of water. BE SURE TO EXERCISE PROPER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS IN THE USE OF THIS EQUIPMENT. WEAR GOGGLES. 8. Add a tablespoon of salt to the warm water and several drops of food coloring. Stir the mixture. 9. WEAR HEAT RESISTANT GLOVES and carefully pour several milliliters of the warm water into the same water-filled pie pan used in Demonstration # Write a sentence to summarize your observations about how this denser mixture behaves when poured into cool water. 11. Have students label the major ocean currents on a map of the world. Excerpt from Ready-to-Use Earth Astronomical Science Activities for Grades

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