A program of the Lawrence Hall of Science that seeks to increase ocean literacy through informal and formal education initiatives
Marine Activities, Resources & Education

WHOI News

Jim Ledwell Selected as a Fellow of The Oceanography Society

Jim Ledwell, Emeritus Research Scholar at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been named a 2017 Fellow of The Oceanography Society (TOS). The society noted his many achievements, in particular his “seminal contributions to the understanding of oceanic mixing,” as the reason for his selection.

Study Identifies Whale Blow Microbiome

A new study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues identified for the first time an extensive conserved group of bacteria within healthy humpback whales' blow—the moist breath that whales spray out of their blowholes when they exhale.

Fueling the Future

In the future, our homes and vehicles could be powered by fuel made from seaweed grown at large-scale offshore farms. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are working to help make that scenario a reality sooner with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Scientists Find New Source of Radioactivity from Fukushima Disaster

Scientists have found a previously unsuspected place where radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster has accumulated—in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away. The sands took up and retained radioactive cesium originating from the disaster in 2011 and have been slowly releasing it back to the ocean.

Only One Ocean CD: Rockin' Ocean Science

New on the howtosmile.org blog is an article about the Banana Slug String Band CD, Only One Ocean!

Howtosmile.org is an online tool that allows educators to search, collect, and share high-quality, hands-on science and math activities. Collections include inquiry-based learning resources from the Lawrence Hall of Science, Exploratorium, Science Museum of Minnesota, Children's Museum of Houston, New York Hall of Science, and ASTC. You can find many ocean sciences activities developed by MARE and our Communiciating Ocean Sciences partners on the site. 

Read the full article on the Only One Ocean CD below, or view the original howtosmile.org blog entry

 

Rockin' Ocean Science, by Deborah Lee Rose

Fab FourFrom the songs of humpback whales in the open sea, to the rhythm of waves against the shore, the ocean is full of music. Now, an award-winning music CD—created by musicians, scientists and educators—is inspiring and teaching kids about the science of the ocean.

Only One Ocean, with 14 rockin’, fact-filled songs, is a first-of-its-kind ocean literacy project, written and recorded by the popular Banana Slug String Band (seen here crossing "Crabby Road"). The entire CD was supported and reviewed for content by scientists and educators from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Educators Association (NMEA), Centers for Ocean Sciences Excellence (COSEE), and Marine Activities, Resources and Education (MARE) program at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science.

“We’re welcoming kids into a realm that’s both musical and scientific,” says musician and band co-director Doug “Dirt” Greenfield. The band spent more than two years creating the Only One Ocean CD, working with scientists from many specialties including marine biology, oceanography, geology and climatology.

Set to rock, folk, reggae, rap and other musical styles, the CD celebrates ocean organisms in songs like “Jellies Ballet” and “Kingdom of the Crab,” and introduces the seven principles of ocean literacy, with one song for each principle. The CD title and title song were inspired by principle #1: The Earth has one big ocean with many features.

“Ocean literacy means understanding the influence the ocean has on you and you have on the ocean,” says Craig Strang, Lawrence Hall of Science associate director and a leader in the Ocean Literacy Campaign, who conceived the CD project with the band. He believes merging science and art is a very compelling type of collaboration to get the ocean message out. “I was a little nervous going in,” he recalls, ”but the band took it as a challenge to get the science right and still make great music!"

The songs aren’t designed just for listening but for creative participation as well. For example, at the end of the song “Ocean Flow,” the band laid down an instrumental-only track, so kids could make up their own verses and sing along.

The CD has won a Parents’ Choice Award, and great reviews are coming in from all kinds of educators, including music teachers who have kids singing the songs as part of their classroom arts curriculum, and at school concerts and theatrical performances. The Banana Slug String Band is all for the songs being performed live, since the band has been teaching about the environment through high-energy, live concerts, with lots of audience participation, for more than 25 years.

One particular audience for the new songs still came as a surprise to the musicians. “We were playing the song about whales, called ‘Cetacea’, on a whale watching trip in Hawaii with the Pacific Whale Foundation,” Greenfield recalls. “As we were playing, the humpbacks we’d been watching from a distance came right up to our boat. One baby whale sort of rolled on its back and started making rhythmic movements—it looked like it was dancing with the music!”

With the full CD and individual songs widely available for download, the musicians and scientists behind Only One Ocean hope its musical/scientific message will reach listeners in all kinds of geographic areas, even kids who have never seen or touched the ocean.

 “A song can set the stage for learning in a very personal sense,” says “Solar” Steve Van Zandt, who wrote all the songs on the CD. “We’re sparking a sense of wonder, which is the basis of the inquiry method of science learning.”

“First we want kids to be amazed at the ocean,” adds Greenfield. From amazement, he says, can come scientific understanding of ocean processes, curiosity to learn more about incredible organisms, and concern about how to protect the ocean which is so critical to all life on Earth. In the meantime, learners of any age can rock along with the music just for the sheer joy of it. After all, observes Greenfield, who says saving the planet can’t be fun?