Ocean Currents Change Our Earth

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Link to Resource: http://www.earthsciweek.org/classroom-activities/ocean-currents-change-our-earth
Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8
Language:English
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Summary:Ocean currents — the continuous, directed movement of ocean water — affect regional climates and alter the biological and chemical characteristics of seawater. Currents can flow for long distances both at and below the ocean’s surface. Wind drives surface currents, whereas density often drives deep ocean currents. Density, a physical property of matter, is mass per volume. Density is not simply weight — it depends on the volume of the sample (the amount of space the sample occupies). The density of water can easily be altered by changing its temperature (cold water is more dense) or by changing the amount of dissolved substances such as salt in the water (salt water is more dense). Ocean water that is denser will sink, setting up the motion that drives deep ocean currents. To understand more about water density, calculate the density of two different water samples: tap water and “ocean” water. (You can make “ocean” water by adding salt to tap water.) Density is calculated by dividing the mass of the water by its volume.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 4; Big Idea 5
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS2.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:MS-ESS2-6
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Developing and using models
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Systems and system models
Subjects: currents; earth science week; oceans; space; water
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