Perspectives from the Field: Ocean Tracks

Instructional Strategies: 
Visual Representations
Supporting Science

Neil Schiavo is a Research Associate at Education Development Center, Inc. He has over 10 years experience developing materials to support the professional learning of teachers and administrators around the country. He has been involved in the design of the Success at the Core modules for leadership teams, the National Science Foundation Knowledge Management and Dissemination website, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation Building New Models initiative. His interest is in implementing and sustaining programs that create sensible ways for teachers to collaborate and learn together to strengthen classroom instruction.

Looking for ways to make science come alive? Have students engage in inquiry?  Link math and science?

You can find all this in Oceans of Data Institute.  This up-to-date, engaging website brings your students close to the data and questions asked by scientists who study marine life.  The Ocean Tracks website is an interactive display of data collected from buoys, satellites, and creatures on the migratory movements of four species from the Pacific Ocean: Pacific Bluefin tuna, great white shark, Laysan albatross, and northern elephant seal.  The site also allows users to overlay addition data on environmental conditions, such as water surface temperature.  

Ocean Tracks: Sample image with Learning Module investigation questions inserted

The Oceans of Data Institute is developing “Learning Modules” to structure investigations into the life and habitat of these creatures.  Outlines of these modules are currently described on the Oceans of Data website, and provide questions for students to answer by looking for patterns in the movements of marine life and at intersections between separate data trends, for example, areas with dense activity to see where food sources may exist.

The interactive features within the Ocean Tracks website allow you to differentiate student assignments through built-in supports to limit or expand how many data points are displayed. The skills students develop through these activities will help prepare them for working and understanding the data rich world we live in—key elements in being college and career ready. Using Oceans of Data can bring to life the instructional strategies included in the Math Instructional Strategy Guides on the PowerUp What Works website. Check out the Guides for modeling, visual representations, and supporting science.

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