Sound and light in the ocean
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 29, 2013
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Then the frequency dependent attenuation of sound is examined and students learn that low frequency sound travels better than high frequency sound.
Finally students are asked to use what they learned in interpreting a news article.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
- Student Handout for Sound and Light in the Ocean Lab (Microsoft Word 719kB May13 13)
Teaching Notes and Tips
After students have graphed the sound speed profile have them examine it. Use this as a teaching moment to reinforce the concept that waves bend toward the environment of slower wave speed. The effect on sound is that the sound speed minimum at about 500m is like a lense that focuses the sound. Sound that tries to move up or down is bent back toward the sound speed minimum depth. This means that sounds generated at this depth can travel great distances since spreading attenuation is minimized.
Question 4. Instructors can use this question to have a discussion with students on the difference between linear decay of a signal and exponential decay.
Question 5. Tying whales into the exercise will "hook" some students into remembering the content. Since this exercise has no field or lab component having students Google a whale fall adds a bit of excitement.
Question 6. Instructors may want to do the calculations for one of the rows in the table.