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Oceanography: Session 1

Oceanography 1
This is part 1 of 2 in the full year (24 weeks) Oceanography series.

Other classes in the series include:
Oceanography Session 2


If you have a student aged 12-17 that has an interest in the ocean, this is the class for them! My degree is in Marine Biology (from Texas A&M University at Galveston), and this is the only full year homeschool oceanography course that is taught by a degreed marine biologist! This will not be a “fluff” class, or an “overview”- it is an intensive, science heavy class where students will focus on the four branches of oceanography- biological, physical, geological and chemical. There will be a slight emphasis in tropical oceanography, as I will be filming videos and doing labs from the Caribbean Sea.

Because my full year marine zoology course focuses solely on marine animals, the biological oceanography portion of this class will focus primarily on ecosystems and life from bacteria to plants. The marine zoology course and oceanography course do NOT build on each other, so you can take either one first. However, the oceanography course does cover more advanced material, and completion of prealgebra is recommended.

No live classes- view lessons on YOUR schedule. In general, expect 1.5-2.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time). For classes with two levels, the material is the same for both- the depth of the assignments differs. Younger students should usually be placed in Level 1. Older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2. Each lesson consists of a fully narrated PowerPoint presentation with images and videos to enhance the topics. Students will have access to our learning management system, Canvas, for viewing their lesson, printing worksheets, taking quizzes, viewing/submitting assignments, participating in discussions, and viewing grades/feedback. Read more details about class format. 

Week 1
We're starting at the very beginning! What are the oceans of the world, where are they, and what are some of the interesting features and characteristics of each? We'll then cover the four main branches of oceanography that we'll be studying this year- chemical, physical, geological, and biological. We'll then look at the human history of our oceans, including exploration by early navigators. Then we'll look at the first oceanographic voyages and how technology for measuring the oceans has advanced throughout the past 100 years, leading to our current understanding of our oceans.

Week 2
This week starts with a study of the topography of the seafloor- bathymetry. We'll learn how to read topographic maps of the seafloor to determine what features lie beneath. We'll learn the different technologies that are used to map the ocean floor, and learn how much of it has been mapped so far. 

Week 3
We're back on the seafloor this week, learning about all of the different topographic features in detail- from trenches to sea mounts! We'll cover sedimentation, active and passive continental margins, how tectonic plates contribute to seafloor features, the formation of volcanic islands and how deep sea hydrothermal vents work. 

Week 4
More history this week, as we explore how the theory of continental drift was discovered through the work of many scientists. This leads in to a discussion on sea floor spreading, and the amazing clues it gives us about Earth's geologic history.

Week 5
Sediments are the focus of week 5! We'll discuss the tools scientists use to collect and study sea floor sediments and what important information these sediments hold. We'll cover the different types of sediments, the origin of each, and where you are most likely to find them.

Week 6
We're moving from sediments to sedimentation! This week we'll discuss sediment transport in the ocean- how climate (yes, climate!) is a factor in sedimentation, along with wind, waves, tides, and currents. We'll then discuss various sedimentary deposits and how they have formed throughout geologic time.

Week 7
This week we'll start with a serious lesson in the basics of chemistry, and then apply that knowledge to chemical oceanography. We'll learn about the chemical makeup and characteristics of seawater. 

Week 8
Why is the ocean salty? We'll find out this week! Plus how to measure salinity and learn why it maintains a balance. Then we'll add in temperature and density and learn about the different layers from the surface to the depths. We'll cover the oxygen minimum zone, the pH of the ocean and what keeps it stable, and how this stability is being threatened by climate change.

Week 9
This week, students will really be under a lot of pressure.....to learn about pressure! We'll then move to winds, and how winds have a major impact on our oceans. We'll discuss the flow of winds due to....pressure...and the Coriolis effect. This will lead into a discussion on the 5 great ocean gyres, Ekman spiral and transport, the global conveyor belt, and how climate change is affecting these important processes. 

Week 10
Waves are the highlight of week 10. We'll learn what causes waves, their anatomy, and how they can change over time. We'll cover the differences in deep water vs shallow water waves and what happens as a wave approaches the shore. This is a mathy week, as we'll be calculating different wave features!

Week 11
It's no day at the beach during week 11! We're going to learn all about some of the most dangerous features of the ocean- tsunamis and hurricanes!

Week 12
No oceanography class would be complete without a discussion of tides, and we will finish up Session 1 with this topic! We'll learn all about the different types of tides, where and why they occur, and how they are measured and predicted. We'll learn about amphidromic systems, tidal bores, and the use of tidal currents as a form of renewable energy!


All labs are OPTIONAL and not required to complete the work.
These materials will allow students to follow along with the in-lesson labs.
Students who do not have materials can simply follow along with me in the video.

Week 5 Lab Materials
Clear plastic bin
Red & Blue Food Coloring
Eyedropper or Pipette
6 Styrofoam cups, or similar small, insulated containers (if you can’t get Styrofoam or insulated cups, you can try using regular ones)
A blue ice cube (make it by freezing water with food coloring in an ice cube tray)

Next Level Homeschool is a firm believer that not all learning should happen from behind a screen! That's why we give students the freedom to submit their assignments in the way THEY want to! We don't want regurgitation learning here. By allowing students to use their own talents, skills, and passions to complete assignments, they become even more engaged and retain the information. Why? Because now it's literally in their hands! We receive thousands of projects every year from our students- written reports, videos, models, posters, Scratch, minecraft, songs, poems, skits, drawings, sculptures, crafts- we've seen it ALL! And WE LOVE IT!! 

Click here to view just a few projects we've received from students who have taken this class, and see what YOUR kid could be learning with Next Level Homeschool!

Course Features

  • Schedule Sep 5 - Dec 12
  • Activities Science
  • Lessons 12
  • Suggested Ages 12-17 Two Levels
  • Time This class is currently closed for enrollments. Join our mailing list to be notified when enrollment opens.