Explore the Southern Ocean with your kids—these fun and engaging STEM-oriented lesson plans discuss the incredible aspects of the Antarctic ecosystem and how it affects the rest of the planet. Download for free!
In this unprecedented time, many parents, including those at Saildrone, are now finding themselves not only working from home, but also with a new side gig: Teacher. Saildrone is proud to share a series of fun and engaging educational tools inspired by our autonomous vehicles and developed to bring the mysteries of Antarctica to students around the world.
The Antarctic ecosystem, part of the Southern Ocean, is one of the most productive and diverse on the planet and plays an essential role in balancing the global climate. In 2019, a saildrone known as SD 1020 became the first autonomous vehicle to circumnavigate Antarctica—a voyage of more than 22,000 km (13,670 miles)!
Frequent, fast-moving storms, frigid water temperatures, and massive breaking waves make crewed scientific research challenging in the Southern Ocean. Saildrones are equipped with state-of-the-art science sensors that collect important data about the ocean, atmosphere, and ecosystem. The data the saildrones collected in the Southern Ocean will help scientists study the Antarctic ecosystem and how changes there can impact oceans around the world.
Below is an overview of three modules developed as part of the Antarctic mission and a link to access the individual lesson plans. Each lesson includes a class presentation, activities, and printable visual aids. Teaching notes are also included to help guide teachers—and parents!—through each lesson. All materials are free—no registration required!
Have your kids or class completed these lessons? We’d love to see their projects! Send pictures in a Facebook message or tags us @saildrone on Twitter or Instagram so that we can retweet/share to Stories!
Module 1: Antarctic krill
Antarctic krill is a small, shrimp-like crustacean and the foundation of the Antarctic food chain. But krill are increasingly under pressure from commercial fishing and a reduction in sea ice due to melting, which could have global effects.
This unit consists of an introductory video and three lessons designed to develop core knowledge about how ecosystems work and the importance of predator and prey relationships.
Oceans are thought to absorb about 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, but once the CO2 is absorbed, it reacts with the water and creates carbonic acid. Ocean acidification affects the water chemistry, which has effects on marine species large and small, from phytoplankton, coral, and krill to fish, seals, and whales.
This unit consists of an introductory video and five lessons discussing the carbon cycle, global warming, pH and how carbon dioxide increases ocean acidification, and how to reduce the human carbon footprint.
While many species of penguin are threatened or endangered, there is a healthy population of chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic region. These tuxedo-clad seabirds feed on krill, squid, and small fish, and by studying their behavior, scientists can gain insight into changes occurring in the Antarctic ecosystem as a whole.
This unit consists of an introductory video and three lessons designed to help students learn how to plan a scientific investigation and how to handle, analyze, and present data effectively and accurately.
Navigating an ocean of data, delivering a world of possibilities.
Saildrone is a US business that designs, manufactures, and operates a fleet of the world’s most capable, proven, and trusted uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs). Predominantly powered by wind and solar, Saildrone USVs have a minimal carbon footprint. They are equipped with advanced sensors and machine learning technology to deliver critical data and intelligence from any ocean at any time of year. Solutions include maritime domain awareness, ocean data, and ocean mapping. Saildrone operations and data collection services are encrypted and secure.