As "America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration," NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer’s sole assignment is to systematically explore Earth’s largely unknown ocean. A major task for this mission is to reach out to teachers, students, and the general public so that they may become engaged with expeditions dedicated to purposes of discovery and the advancement of knowledge. Okeanos Explorer Expedition Education Modules (EEMs) are designed to help accomplish this task. The Okeanos Explorer Exploration of the Gulf of Mexico 2014 offers a unique opportunity for explorers of all ages to investigate the unknown and poorly known areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection was developed to encourage educators and students to become personally involved with the voyages and discoveries of America’s first Federal ship dedicated to ocean exploration. The collection is presented in two volumes: Volume 1: Why Do We Explore? (modern reasons for ocean exploration) and Volume 2: How Do We Explore? (exploration methods and associated technologies).
The Gulf of Mexico Deep-sea Ecosystems collection includes 16 lesson plans about deep-sea organisms and ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Lessons include selections from education materials developed for 11 expeditions sponsored by NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), as well as new lessons and additional background information about the Deepwater Horizon event.
This education package was also provided in an online professional development format. The archived course, complete with keynote videos and discussion rooms, can be viewed here: http://www.coexploration.org/oe-dse .
Educators and scientists working with NOAA developed standards-based lesson plans for students in Grades 5-12 that are tied to the science and technology associated with this expedition. Newer lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards performance expectations (and their associated Common Core State Standards Connections), as well as the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts . You will also find links to other NOAA expeditions on the Ocean Explorer website that have content and lessons that relate to the Gulf of Mexico.
Click on the links to Lessons 3, 5, 6, 11 and 12 for interactive multimedia presentations and Learning Activities on Deep-Sea Corals, Chemosynthesis and Hydrothermal Vent Life, Deep-Sea Benthos, Energy from the Ocean, and Food, Water, and Medicine from the Sea.
Each of these expeditions covers topics similar to those of this expedition. Each expedition web page has an education component with associated lesson plans on topics including shipwrecks, corals, cold seeps, and the technologies used to explore these areas.
To see archived video highlighting some of the careers that will be represented onboard the ship during this expedition, click on the OceanAGE Careers page.
The OER Digital Atlas map provides an overview of OER-sponsored expeditions. The Digital Atlas is the central point of access to expedition science background, lesson plans, scientific data, and more. You can also visit the Okeanos Atlas and follow along with the ship in near real-time.