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Lesson: Construct a Buoyant Scuba Diver

Scuba SketchScuba diving is an excellent hobby for underwater naturalists. In this lesson, students in grades 6-8 learn about the concepts of buoyancy and how organisms float, sink, or hover in water as they construct a neutrally buoyant “scuba diver.”

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Feature: Tsunami Waves’ Destructive Power

Tsunami Hits MiyakoWater is surprisingly heavy, and, when in motion, it can kill. The tsunami that hit Northern Japan on Friday is an eye-opening example of the power water can have—and the devastation it can bring. “It’s basically like a hundred tanks coming across you,” oceanography professor Philip Froelich says.

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Travel Fellowships for Middle School Teachers

Coral and Coastal EcologyTeachers of grades 6 through 8 from Northrup Grumman communities have a chance to join an expedition either to the Bahamas, to examine coastal ecology, or to the edge of the Arctic, to study climate change.

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Activity: Build a Model Submarine

SubmarineStudents in grades 5-8 learn the basic principle of buoyancy and how submarines use it to dive and ascend in water through creating their own submarine out of a soda bottle, pennies, and other household items. Activity courtesy of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.

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Competition: Human-powered Submarine Race

ISR-10 ArchimedePlans are already underway for the 20011 International Submarine Race, to be held next summer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock test tank facility in Bethesda, Maryland. The race tests the creative skills of young engineering students from schools and colleges throughout the world, as teams compete in one- and two-person “wet” submarines submerged along a 100-meter measured course.

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Competition: MIT’s Ocean Science Bowl

Blue LobsterFor over 13 years, the Blue Lobster Bowl has been testing Massachusetts high school students in marine sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, maritime history, and ocean engineering. Each year approximately 2,000 students from 300 schools across the nation compete in their regional tournament. Winners of regional competitions are invited to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

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Website: Consortium for Ocean Leadership

oceanleadership-logoThe Consortium for Ocean Leadership is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that represents 95 of the leading public and private ocean research education institutions, aquaria, and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy. The organization manages ocean research and education programs in areas of scientific ocean drilling, ocean observing, ocean exploration, and ocean partnerships.

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Website: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal

tahitiThe Smithsonian Institution’s handsome new Ocean Portal includes information on ocean life and ecosystems, an ocean time line that dates back 3.5 billion years, photo essays, a section on ocean science, news about latest ocean developments, a blog, and videos. The Educators’ Corner offers free lesson plans and resources. This excellent site for teachers and students alike encourages greater public understanding and stewardship.

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Dispersants – a Help or a Hazard?

Oil Slick Off of Louisiana CoastBritish Petroleum is using a series of dispersants to combat the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — chemicals intended to break up the surface tension of an oil slick and make oil more water-soluble. But the contents of some of these chemicals may be toxic to humans and wildlife, according to information newly released by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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