Understanding ocean circulation using open-ended experiments in an introductory class
Students are then invited to design and conduct an experiment to replicate an ocean process of their choice, based on what they have learned in preceding lectures/workshops. They are provided with materials including salt, ice, warm water, additional barriers, obstacles and fans. This leads to a vibrant engaged class as students attempt to replicate processes such as convergence of currents, ocean stratification, geostrophic flow, the effects of bathymetry and the complex water flow off Antarctica. These experiments provide practice in data recording, writing scientific reports, defining and testing hypotheses, and fitting equations using a spreadsheet. Many students record their experiments as videos or photos, some of which are high-quality demonstrations of science communication and advertisement for the course. Overall, the activity teaches students the link between observations, theory and experimental modelling of oceanographic processes.
Understanding ocean circulation using open-ended experiments in an introductory class poster (Acrobat (PDF) 853kB Jul18 17)