A key piece of the academic pipeline for COSEE-OS has been training undergraduate students through a semester course, Teaching Physical Sciences by Ocean Inquiry. Co-developed by University of Maine faculty in the School of Marine Sciences and the College of Education, instructors utilized an inquiry-based instructional approach to teach about physical sciences content using ocean-based examples. Content was balanced with relevant pedagogical strategies commonly used to teach science.

This pilot course produced the 52-page booklet Teaching Physical Concepts in Oceanography: An Inquiry-Based Approach (Karp-Boss et al., 2009). This supplement to Oceanography magazine focuses on educational approaches to help engage students in learning and offers a collection of hands-on/minds-on activities for teaching physical concepts that are fundamental in oceanography. These key concepts include density, pressure, buoyancy, heat and temperature, and gravity waves.

During the July 2011 Curriculum Development Workshop at Colby College, four Univerity of Maine graduate students (Carrie Armbrecht, Beth Campbell, Erin Macro, and Ashley Young) discussed two of the activities in the booklet with workshop educators: Effects of Temperature and Salinity on Density and Stratification (Activity 1.4) and Convection (Activity 4.3). (Click here for videos that accompany the activities.) The educators then completed the activities with the students, with an eye towards implementing them in their classrooms.