You’ve been to the beach or seen one on television, but did you know you could learn about ocean currents right at home or in the classroom? Learning about the ocean currents is made tangible for preschoolers and elementary kids with this easy ocean currents activity. We love simple hands-on ocean science activities here!
OCEAN CURRENTS ACTIVITY FOR OCEAN LEARNING!
Get ready to add this simple ocean currents activity to your ocean lesson plans this season. If you want to learn about what causes ocean currents, this is a cool way to get started! While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun ocean activities.
Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
GO WITH THE FLOW!
Let’s get right to learning about ocean currents with a few simple ingredients you can grab from the kitchen. Adding a few plastic sea creatures ups the play value. Extend the activity to learn more about the ocean animals you have added and where they generally live.
This ocean currents activity asks the question: What are ocean currents and what causes ocean currents?
YOU WILL NEED:
- 9 x 13” clear pan
- Cold water
- Boiling water
- Ice cubes
- Red and blue food coloring
- Rubber or plastic fish
HOW TO MAKE AN OCEAN CURRENTS MODEL:
STEP 1: Fill the container about halfway with cold water.
STEP 2: Mix in some blue food coloring.
STEP 3: Mix in a cup of ice cubes.
STEP 4: Add your plastic fish to the water.
STEP 5: Boil 2 cups of water and mix in red food coloring to make it a dark red.
STEP 6: Slowing pour the red hot water into the cold water and watch the currents start to form.
WHAT ARE OCEAN CURRENTS?
An ocean current is a continuous flow of water. Some currents are called surface currents, and some currents flow hundreds of feet below the surface of the water and are called deep ocean currents. Make sure to check out the different layers of the ocean!
WHAT CAUSES OCEAN CURRENTS?
Surface currents are caused by wind. As the wind changes, the current may change as well. The Earth’s rotation can also affect ocean currents. This causes currents to flow clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.
You can have the kids gently blow on the water’s surface and observe what happens.
Deep ocean currents (what we are exploring here) are caused by several things including changes in the temperature (red water), salinity (how salty the water is), and density of the water.
What happens if some of the ocean water is very salty and some is not? Do they mix?
WHAT ARE CONVECTION CURRENTS?
Are surface currents and convection currents the same? No, they are not! While surface currents are generally caused by wind, a convection current results from cool water sinking and warm water rising. The movement that happens when changes in density and temperature occur produces a current! Convection currents can also be seen in the air and molten rock. Picture a current as a small river running through a large ocean! Convection currents in the ocean are called Oceanic Currents.
CHECK OUT MORE FUN OCEAN IDEAS
- How Do Squid Swim?
- Oil Spill Cleanup Experiment
- Beach Erosion Demonstration
- Ocean Waves In A Bottle
- Layers of the Ocean
LEARN ABOUT OCEAN CURRENTS FOR OCEAN SCIENCE FOR KIDS
Discover more fun and easy science & STEM activities right here. Click on the link or on the image below.