Explore CTD data of vertical structure of ocean

Alexander Stine
San Francisco State University,
Author Profile

This activity was selected for the Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB Peer 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

  • Computational, Quantitative, and 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 https://serc.carleton.edu/teaching_computation/materials/activity_review.html.

This page first made public: Oct 12, 2015


Students use MATLAB to explore CTD data of vertical structure of ocean.

Learning Goals

My goals for this activity are:
1. for students to understand what the vertical structure in the ocean looks like
2. to get students asking questions about stability before we dive into this subject in more depth in lecture, and
3. to build familiarity/comfort with MATLAB to setup more involved MATLAB activities later in the semester.

Context for Use

I use this activity in an upper level undergraduate and/or master's level course. When I give them this activity, students have already done 2-3 short labs which give them an introduction to MATLAB, but do not necessarily have other programing experience. This activity is done during lab time early in the semester of a physical oceanography class.

Description and Teaching Materials

Getting Started Script (Matlab File 4kB Oct12 15)
coastline file (Matlab .MAT File 62kB Oct12 15)
ctd_profile.mat (Matlab .MAT File 49kB Oct12 15)

Teaching Notes and Tips


I don't have a formal system.
I talk a lot with the student's during this activity and we debrief when they have completed the activity.

References and Resources