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This supplement to Oceanography magazine focuses on educational approaches to help engage students in learning and offers a collection of hands-on/minds-on activities for teaching physical concepts that are fundamental in oceanography. These key concepts include density, pressure, buoyancy, heat and temperature, and gravity waves. We focus on physical concepts for two reasons. First, students whose attraction to marine science stems from an interest in ocean organisms are typically unaware that physics is fundamental to understanding how the ocean, and all the organisms that inhabit it, function. Second, existing marine education and outreach programs tend to emphasize the biological aspects of marine sciences. While many K–12 activities focus on marine biology, comparatively few have been developed for teaching about the physical and chemical aspects of the marine environment (e.g., Ford and Smith, 2000, and a collection of activities on the Digital Library for Earth System Education Web site [DLESE;]). The ocean provides an exciting context for science education in general and physics in particular. Using the ocean as a platform to which specific physical concepts can be related helps to provide the environmental relevance that science students are often seeking. The activities described in this supplement were developed as part of a Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) collaboration between scientists and education specialists, and they were implemented in two undergraduate courses that targeted sophomores, juniors, and seniors (one for marine science majors and one including both science and education majors) and in four, week-long workshops for middle- and high-school science teachers. Support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE), grant number OCE-0528702. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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Karp-Boss, L., E. Boss, H. Weller, J. Loftin, and J. Albright. 2009. Teaching Physical Concepts in Oceanography: An Inquiry Based Approach. Oceanography 22(3), supplement, 48 pp,

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©2009 The Oceanography Society. Permission is granted to reprint this publication in whole or in part for any noncommercial, educational uses. The Oceanography Society requests that the original source be credited.




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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.