Lost At Sea

Camille Holmgren
Buffalo State College
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Students work as teams to "sail" around the North Atlantic using their knowledge of latitude, longitude, time, winds, and ocean currents to complete the voyage.

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introductory physical geography or oceanography (used in our World Natural Environments course - see course profile).

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

latitude and longitude, relationship between longitude and time, seasons and solar declination, global wind systems, and ocean currents

How the activity is situated in the course

stand-alone activity that draws on concepts from prior exercises


Content/concepts goals for this activity

concepts include latitude, longitude and time, seasons, global winds, and ocean currents

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

students must apply concepts to solve problems

Other skills goals for this activity

working in groups

Description of the activity/assignment

Preparation for this activity involves background lectures, readings, and prior exercises related to latitude, longitude, the relationship between longitude and time, seasons and solar declination, global atmospheric circulation, and global currents. In class, students work in small groups to complete a "voyage" around the North Atlantic Ocean using their prior knowledge, maps of winds and currents from their text, their notes, and a globe. This activity gives students practice using maps, discerning latitude and longitude using time and seasonal information, and using characteristics of global winds and currents to find their location.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students turn in worksheets with answers to the problem set.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

This activity was modified from an exercise designed by oceanography faculty at the University of Arizona