Mysteries of the deep Earth

This series of seven lessons were written by the University of Edinburgh with support from CSIRO, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The materials contains detailed presentations, student worksheet, extension materials and solutions. Lessons can be used as stand alone activities or as a series of lessons exploring how the secondary level mathematics is used in real life.

In each lesson, students are asked to complete a series of activities to support a scientific research vessel on its journey. The science objectives of the voyage are listed as:

Hotspot dynamics in the Coral Sea: connections between the Australian Plate and the deep Earth.

Scientists will be collecting rocks from volcanoes along a submerged seamount chain and using sound, magnetics and gravity to make 3D maps of the volcano shapes. These chains are similar to the Hawaiian and Canary Islands in that they are volcanoes which formed away from the edges of tectonic plates (such as in the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’), and scientists want to understand how, why and when they formed.

Understanding the spatial links between geomorphology and biodiversity in the Coral Sea Australian Marine Park. 

Maps of the underwater volcanoes will be analysed to understand how different shapes, structures and ‘underwater landscapes’ provide habitats for marine species such as corals and invertebrates.

Spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of seabirds. 

Scientists on the observation deck high on the ship will be observing seabirds and marine mammals (such as whales and dolphins) to understand where they live and their behaviours.

The lesson topics cover:

Lesson 1 - Bearings

Lesson 2 - Plotting coordinates (Maths)

Lesson 3 - Plotting coordinates (Geography)

Lesson 4 - Estimation

Lesson 5 - Underwater volcano hunting activity

Lesson 6 - Hotspot migration activity

Lesson 7 - Negative numbers under sea




Showing 7 result(s)

Lesson 1 - Bearings

In this resource students are asked to calculate the bearings and distances a ship will need to travel in order to complete a voyage from Cairns to Brisbane via a number of sample sites.

To complete the task, students need to measure bearings, distances on a map and use the scale provided to convert to...

Lesson 2 - Plotting coordinates (Maths)

In this resource students are asked to read and plot coordinate points on behalf of a scientific research voyage from Cairns to Brisbane via a number of sample sites.

The additional extension material ask students to plot points using latitude and longitude.

The materials contain a detailed...

Lesson 3 - Plotting coordinates (Geography)

In this resource students are asked to explore longitude and latitude on behalf of a scientific research vessel.

In addition to introducing students to the idea of lines of latitude and longitude on the globe, the materials ask students to find the latitude and longitude of given points, and to plot the...

Lesson 4 - Estimation

This resource contains footage of a large dolphin pod, and asks students to use and justify their own assumptions in order to estimate how many dolphins are in the pod. 

The presentation also includes details of the wildlife seen in the video, a brief quiz and prompts for a discussion about rounding length...