Hypoxic “Battleship”

You Spotted My Scientists!

Lesson Objective: Students will compete against a partner to seek out a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, that has lost radio contact, using current research and coordinates, “Battleship” style.  They will become familiar with the locations of hypoxic waters as well as using coordinates to locate items on a map.

Materials Per Team:

~2 manila folders with 4 copies of Gulf of Mexico chart (or any body of water relevant to your investigations) with latitude and longitude; charts should be attached to folders and the folders should be laminated ahead of time

~2 dry erase markers

~2 jumbo paper clips

~2 scenarios (you can change based upon what you are studying)

~Copy of current hypoxic plume on a map for each player

               Note: harmful algal blooms, nutrient plumes, upwelling, currents, or any other topic of study can be substituted for hypoxic zones

Each student will need to mark on their chart on the top half of the folder two “C’s” for CTD locations and one “S” for ship before beginning; they will use the bottom half of the folder for marking “hits” or “misses” on their opponent’s side

Wrap-up: Once the scientists have been spotted, you can have players discuss their strategies or any observations they made about the location of the hypoxic waters and near-by river mouths.  Students can also work in teams to create a research cruise proposal of study, based on their focus (iron, sediments, salinity, dissolved oxygen, etc.) and current research available.  They can try to convince the board (their classmates) why they should fund their research and explain what they hope to discover through their explorations.




You are a part of a Coast Guard Rescue Squad in search of two different teams of scientists.  You know of the whereabouts of one team, and your opponent knows the location of the other.  Your goal is to find where the other team is based upon what they were studying at the time they lost radio contact.  You will need to find their 2 CTD cast locations, and their research vessel before your opponent finds yours.  You must make the locations of your science team and their CTD casts on the intersection of one line of latitude and one line of longitude.

You know the scientists left Gulfport, MS aboard a vessel that is not allowed to cross into Mexico’s waters.  You also know the scientists are studying hypoxia both on and off the continental shelf and are using the most recent NOAA maps showing where the hypoxic waters are located.  Good luck finding the other team of scientists!!  You must work quickly!




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