Local Elementary School Outreach

Elementary public school Science Day

Prof. Resplandy has developed hands-on activities to illustrate oceanography concepts in elementary schools. This includes the famous “phytoplankton race” where students built phytoplankton out of plastic, metal, foam. This activity illustrates the importance of the biological pump in regulating atmospheric CO2. It also introduces the concept of buoyancy with an emphasis on the trade off phytoplankton must face to survive: float at the surface and get more light or sink to get more nutrients. Students built in groups of 3-4 the “best” phytoplankton they can come up with so that it will not sink too fast nor stay floating at the surface. Other activities include pH around us where they get to measure the pH of different substances (lemon, tap water, soap, sanitizer, sea water, sea water with added CO2 etc.). This activity introduces the concept of acidity and links it to atmospheric CO2 and ocean acidification.