Overview: Ocean Geography and Geology

In this unit, students identify the five ocean basins and their unique features. Given coordinate points, students determine the location of ocean basins, continents, and geologic features of interest, including the Hawaiian Islands, then plot their findings on large ocean maps. They also learn to differentiate between ocean basins and seas. Students are also introduced to the plate tectonics theory of continental drift formulated by Oceanographer Alfred Wegener in 1915. They gain an elementary understanding of how seamounts, deep trenches, and volcanoes are formed, and then apply this knowledge to recreate seafloor features with modeling clay. They are also made aware that tectonic plate movements can trigger Earthquakes, or create islands, such as the Hawaiian Islands, that show the direction of plate movement above a hot spot. Students will be able to visualize how the Hawaiian Islands were formed, and how they slowly move in a northwesterly direction.

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basin, continental drift, continents, deep trenches, earthquakes, features, geologic features, Hawaiian, hotspot, ocean, plate tectonics, seamounts, volcanoes