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Middle School Physics Project: Adrift

Navigation and Ocean Currents

If you have ever dropped something in the ocean, you have probably seen how the ocean tends to carry it away from you, and you've watched it bob up and down in waves. The movement of the object you've seen is caused by the influence of the ocean's surface currents and waves on the object.

Boats on the ocean are able to travel with, or against, the currents on the ocean's surface by using oars, sails, or motors. However, if a boat loses its ability to move across the water, or is overcome by a storm, it will quickly find itself at the mercy of the wind, waves and currents. When boaters find themselves in trouble, they rely on the U.S. Coast Guard's Search and Rescue Unit to respond to their distress calls. If the Coast Guard knows how the surface currents are moving, they can locate boats and people more quickly.

But how can ocean scientists (and the Coast Guard) "see" how the currents on the surface of the ocean are moving? In this project, you will learn how to read vector images of real-time CODAR (Costal Ocean Radar) data. Then you'll use your knowledge to help locate a lost ship off the New Jersey coast!

 

 

cool classroom welcome units
biology project: gone fishing
earth science project: follow that bloom
physics: follow that bloom
physics: adrift
understand currents
analyze codar
add vectors
use real-time data
locate the ship