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Students Investigate Ocean Currents in STEM Workshop

Rudy Brandl

Just how did a 55-pound Aldabra Tortoise from the island atoll in the Seychelles float and arrive on the shores of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania some 450 miles away? What makes ocean currents? Middle School STEM students started their two-day after school program last week with these focusing questions. 

Under the guidance of Mrs. Andrea Barnett, Middle School science teacher and Science Department Co-Chair, students took to Google Earth to follow the tortoise's journey and then completed tasks at three different stations to see how currents are caused by differences in salinity, temperature and polar vs. tropical extremes in water. Students used the globes to locate places in the world where the oceans meet and show these phenomena. Finally, they were challenged to make miniature density columns in straws with colored water of a variety of densities and colors.