Education Blog

Thirty Days to Submission: How I Made a Video for Ocean180

Video of How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic Ocean How do you explain a scientific paper in three minutes or less? What if you were being judged by a bunch of middle-schoolers in classrooms around the world… and you only had a month to do it? The video above is what I came up with, with help from planetary scientist, science communicator, and science historian Meg Rosenburg . That music! That voice! Those… diatoms?? You might ask what we were thinking, making an epic film about microbes. The truth is, it was an experiment—an experiment that, thankfully, turned...Read more
A light painted image of a hand-painted ceramic fish with light emitting from its mouth

Using Light Painting to Teach Bioluminescence

Watch this short video tutorial to learn how to do light painting. Painting with light is a photographic technique that can be used in the classroom to help students understand bioluminescence. What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. In a unique spin on an art technique called "light painting," you can create your own bioluminescent organisms with glow sticks in your classroom or home. Using a photographic technique called light painting, this image captures light emitted from a...Read more
A student uses a marker to decorate a reusable lunch bag with ocean creatures

Teaching Your Students About Marine Debris: a Classroom Activity

A student decorates a reusable bag as part of "Design Your Own Bag," a marine debris activity hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Have you ever gone to your favorite coastal or lakeside beach and instead of having a fun day in the sun you were faced with a trove of trash? How heartbreaking it is to see waters and shorelines littered with items that you have at home, that maybe you’ve even recently thrown away. Encountering ocean trash on the beach has become more common. According to the Ocean Conservancy's Trash Travels report ,...Read more
a colored shakemap from the M5.8 Virginia Earthquake depicts the shake range and epicenter of the earthquake

A Guide to Earthquake Lesson Plans

On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in Washington, DC and beyond. In this brief video, Smithsonian educator Catherine Sutera uses a Slinky® to demonstrate two types of seismic waves that people in the area may have felt: the P wave and the S wave . Both are known as "body waves," because they move through the planet's interior. The P wave, also called the primary wave, is the fastest seismic wave. But it's the S wave that creates much of...Read more
Ocean Portal summer 2011 intern Brandon Adkins poses next to the aquarium in the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall.

An Intern Explores Ocean Careers

Summer 2011 Ocean Portal intern Brandon Adkins is determined to pursue a career in marine science. After researching a host of jobs in the field, he's thinking of becoming an oceanographer. Credit: Smithsonian Institution I’m a high school student interested in pursuing marine science. I have loved the ocean since I was 3 feet tall and only getting my feet wet at the beach. I’m a senior in high school, and over the next year I have the task of selecting a college, but I’m also thinking about my major and future profession. I know how hard it can be trying to figure out what career you would...Read more
Photo of Sylvia Earle

The JASON Project Live from the Shedd Aquarium

Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, will appear in Wednesday's live broadcast to speak about the state of our ocean in a pre-recorded segment Credit: Flickr User kk+ This week people representing federal, state, and local governments, academia, non-profits, and private industry are in Chicago for the biennial Coastal Zone Conference . This meeting will give more than 1,000 attendees the opportunity to discuss ocean issues, strategies, and solutions. You can be a part of the gathering through a live webcast on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 from 4:30-5:30 pm (EDT) from the...Read more
A red and yellow gyotaku-style fish print of a flounder

Educational Uses of Gyotaku or Fish Printing

A Gyotaku flounder print helps teach students about its anatomy. Flounder like all other flatfish, have both eyes on one side of its body while the opposite side is blind. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep a record of the fish they caught. They would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. The ink was non-toxic and allowed for the fish to be processed for eating, while preserving records of fish...Read more
A beach clean-up in Malaysia brings young people together to care for their coastline.

Helping Kids Help the Ocean

A beach clean-up in Malaysia brings young people together to care for their coastline. Credit: Liew Shan Sern/Marine Photobank An 11-year-old in Texas is saddened by the oil spill and begins searching for something she can do to help. A 13-year-old in Washington, D.C., convinces her mom to make small changes in their daily routine that make their home more ocean-friendly. A 7-year-old spends a part of his Saturday trip to the museum learning about the ocean—and some of the things that are harming it —and decides to donate the two prized nickels he found that morning to help the ocean. A 15-...Read more
Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

A Current Event in the Classroom: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Credit: Seaberry Nachbar, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching opportunity. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to capture students’ attention and stimulate discussion on topics like: • biology and ecology (How will the oil effect wildlife and the environment?), • physics and chemistry (How do water conditions, currents, and weather affect the way the oil disperses? What techniques and materials can...Read more