Webquest on currents

PART 1: Research Mini Project- (Get White sheet if you need it) Use each of the buttons below to research the role that ocean currents play in the lives of three organisms, then use this information to write an original paragraph about what you have learned.  Do not plagiarize or copy information from the websites.  The paragraph must be in your own words.

Then on the back work to research and complete your own research mini project about threats to the mysterious and unique sargasso sea. 

PART 2 COLORING: Global Ocean Currents- Color your black and white picture so that you can tell which ocean currents carry warm water and which one are cold.   Use the picture below to help you. 


STEP 3- Global Wind Currents-Color your black and white picture so that you can tell which wind currents are which.   Use the picture below to help you. Don't forget to make a key with the color and name for each wind current

Color the Land Green and the water light blue.  For the arrows use the picture to help you.  
Info for key-
The purple winds are the Polar Easterlies- 
The red winds are the Prevailing Westerlies
The orange winds are the Northeast Trades 
The yellow winds are the Southeast Trades

Each of these winds are areas of high pressure and in between each wind current is an area of low pressure.  

In the Tips to remember section be sure to write the direction that each wind type comes from.  


PART 4: When you finish coloring activity log on to NEWSELA and complete the article assignment for my class.  The article is titled Blame it on the "blob," scientists say about unusually warm Pacific waters.  Read and answer the questions.  If you do not have my class set up or it is not working get a paper copy. 

Part 5:  Take notes in your notebook using the educannon question as reference.  These questions will not be graded for right or wrong.


Global Wind and Ocean Currents moves energy around our planet. The movement of this energy around the world is what gives places certain climates and weather.  

As a general rule..... convection causes cool air and water sinks to the bottom because the molecules are more dense and pack in closed together.  Hot air and water floats up because the molecules are less tightly packed and have less density.  

The ocean currents follow general patterns based on how water moves if it is warm or cool. 

The “great ocean conveyor belt” is a term used to describe the global circulation pattern that connects ocean surface currents and deep-water currents. Thermohaline circulation is driven by differences in water density, which is related to the temperature and salt content of the water. In general, warmer, fresher (less salty) water rises toward the surface; colder, saltier water is denser and sinks toward the bottom of the ocean.

In the Southern Ocean around the margins of Antarctica, cold temperatures lead to the formation of sea ice and dense water. As ocean water freezes, sea ice forms at the surface and pushes most of the salt into the liquid water beneath the ice. This causes the water to increase in salinity and therefore density. This process creates cold, dense water on the continental shelves of Antarctica, which descends to the floor of the adjacent deep ocean. From there, the water—known as Antarctic Bottom Water—spreads northward, flooding and cooling most of the lower two kilometers of the global ocean.

In the northern part of the North Atlantic Ocean, dense water forms when relatively warm, saline water (carried in by ocean currents from the south) is cooled upon releasing heat to the atmosphere. This cooler, dense water sinks to form what is known as North Atlantic Deep Water. The water mass spreads southward within the deep ocean, riding over the denser Antarctic Bottom Water. 

These deep water masses—the North Atlantic Deep Water and denser Antarctic Bottom Water—ventilate the deep ocean and keep the environment at less than about 2°C. As these water masses fill ocean basins, they displace older water that has become less dense through ocean mixing and a global ocean overturning pattern is established. As the displaced water gradually enters into the upper kilometer of the ocean around the planet, it spreads back to the sinking regions. It takes about 1,000 years for water to complete one cycle of the conveyor belt.

Earth's oceans and atmosphere work together to distribute heat around the planet. They are closely connected through the air–sea exchange of heat, water, and gases, such as CO2. Circulation patterns in the oceans and atmosphere, as well as the enormous heat capacity of water, are responsible for moderating Earth’s temperature, acting to maintain its relatively stable climate. If ocean overturning and the associated great ocean conveyor circulation were to slow down or shut down, it would alter the climate dramatically by reducing the movement of heat across latitude circles. For example, it is possible that the Little Ice Age—a period of time (about 1550–1850) in which temperatures were unusually cool—was the result of a slowdown in overturning circulation.
(Used with educational permission from CET)
Discussion Questions- Use the information above and what we discussed during the demonstration to answer the following questions.
Please answer on a sheet of notebook paper, you will turn these in at the end of the bell.
  • Explain why ocean water is warmer in some parts of the world than in others.
  • What causes the cooling of warm ocean water?
  • When the oceans are referred to as having a conveyor belt, what is being conveyed(moved around)?

Virtual Lab for Monday

1.  Enter the site
2. Click on all regions
3.  Click on Currents
4. Close the caution box.
5.  Scroll to find hawaii then let it sit, do not move it so that it will load.

6.The arrows on your screen show the direction that the water is traveling.  The colors on your screen tell how fast the water is moving.  Red water is very fast moving, blue water is slow moving.   

1.  Click on the LAYERS button at the top left side of your screen.
2.  Click on the wind button
3.  Zoom out on the map, be patient and let it load do not touch it again.
4.  Analyze the arrows.  Do you see any patterns or places that the arrows all go the same direction?

5. Can you recognize any of the wind currents from your colored map in the real data on your screen? 
5.  Answer the lab questions on the google form below.  Click the brown button to get there.
Click on the educannon picture and sign in to educannon.com using your school google email.  
Search our class code: e84738 
Watch the ocean motion educannon

Lunacy Assignment- Read the article below to learn the answers to several myths about the moon.  Then answer the questions for extra credit points.