PS1: Matter and Its Interactions

STEM Learning Module:

Ocean Silicate Geology

Using marshmallow modeling tools, in this activity students will model the formation of silicates–the family of minerals that make up more than 90% of the Earth’s crust. Silicates range from mafic to felsic. And since not all silicates are made equal, the composition of each of these minerals varies greatly on the depth within the Earth.

STEM Learning Module:

Model Behavior

Learn the function and importance of scientific computer models used to predict complex phenomena. Examining a model for the behavior of oil in the marine environment, students develop a model to test one real-world parameter that would influence the behavior of oil molecules in an ocean. Students will use their proxy models to make connections to and ask questions about current research on hazard mitigation. This module works well as an introduction to the scientific method and precise measurement.

STEM Learning Module:

Pressure & Density Stations

Students will learn about two key physical properties of oceans: pressure and density, by rotating through stations. Stations include floating/sinking density challenges, DIY lava lamps, data interpretation, Cartesian divers, and more. After rotations, students work with teammates to summarize their learning and make connections from water properties to ocean exploration and ROV technology.

Teaching Animation or Graphic:

Deep Sea Pressure Teaching Animation

As we dive, the atmospheric pressure of the water gradually increases and applies force on ROVs Hercules and Argus. For every 10 meters (33 feet), that pressure increases by 14.5 pounds per square inch.  

Imagine holding 15 jumbo jets at once! That's about the pressure pushing in on our ROVs at the deepest depths of Nautilus exploration. These forces and their scientific implications are important to consider when exploring never-before-seen oceanic territory. 

Data-Driven Activity:

High Pressure in the Deep Ocean

Observe the effects of increasing pressure at ocean depths in this activity developed with Science Friday. Students complete hands-on demos to explore pressure effects and examine pressure-crushed styrofoam cups.

STEM Learning Module:

Save Yourself - Sacrificial Anodes

Students will investigate how rates of chemical reaction rates - galvanic corrosion - vary among different metal types with and without the addition of sacrificial metal. This is a redox reaction example suited well for upper-level students. Students will learn how anodes protect E/V Nautilus and the ROVs Hercules and Argus from corrosion.

Activity or Mini-Lesson:

Ocean Density Bottles Classroom Warm Up

Classroom Warm-ups: Kick-off any lesson with these one-page, observation-building, problem-solving STEM prompts — whether or not you’re teaching an ocean topic.

Ocean water is more dense than pure water because of its salinity, or the concentration of salt in a given volume of water. This activity will help students to visualize and understand how water density plays  vital role in oceanic environments. 


STEM Learning Module:

CTD Analysis

A CTD sensor measures the Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth of the water surrounding ROV Hercules while exploring across the seafloor and through the water column. This module introduces students to graphing using real CTD data collected from E/V Nautilus. Students will plot temperature, salinity, and water pressure measurements from different depths and then build analysis skills observing and identifying patterns in the variables’ relationships across depth.