Teach the Earth > Oceanography > Course Descriptions > Our Dynamic Oceans

Our Dynamic Oceans

Petra Dekens

San Francisco State University,
University with graduate programs, primarily masters programs


A GE course designed to be a survey course of introductory oceanography

Subject: Geoscience:Oceanography
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Oceanography, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience
Earth System Topics: Oceans
Course Size:

Course Context:

This is an introductory GE course that does not have any prerequisites. Most students are freshmen and sophomores, and there are very few science majors. The course includes 2.5 hours of lecture, with up to 150 students. All students also meet in one lab section per week, taught by a graduate student TA, for 2.5 hours.

Course Goals:

  • Students should be able to plot real data using Excel
  • Students should be able to interpret maps, graphs, and other representations of the natural world
  • Students should be able to form hypotheses and have a basic understanding of the process of science

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

The goals above are achieved through a combination of lecture and lab activities. While the lecture focuses on content, the lab activities are more focused on process. Students perform experiments, plot and interpret collected data, plot and interpret other real world data from the internet, etc. Assessment is accomplished through a combination of graded lab activities, exams, and quizzes.

Skills Goals

  • working in groups
  • peer teaching
  • critical thinking and interpretation of data
  • oral and visual communication
  • critically evaluate web site material in the context of researching a particular topic

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

The lab activities are designed to be done in groups, where peer teaching is encouraged (we have several jigsaw activities). Most of the labs incorporate plotting and interpretation of data which was either collected by the students or downloaded from on line sources. Students do a small research project. They are guided by the TA's to critically evaluate on-line sources and then put the information together in a poster. Students present their posters to their peers.



Our Dynamic Ocean (Acrobat (PDF) 133kB Jun9 13)

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