Source: Adapted with permission by Deep Earth Academy.
The JOIDES Resolution (JR) has physical dimensions unlike most oceangoing
vessels. Why? So that scientists can sail nearly anywhere in the world to drill
for samples of rocks and sediment from below the seafloor in hopes of
discovering clues about Earths history and structure, life in the deep
biosphere, past climate change, earthquakes, and natural resources.
Note for teachers: The JR has a flat bottom, a 6.4-meter hole in the middle, 12 laboratories, and a derrick towering 67 meters (about 13 stories) above the waterline. The vessel is 143 meters long and can drill 8,382 meters below sea level. To understand these numbers, it might be helpful to construct a model of the ship - right in your schoolyard.
Before class, measure several lengths of string that are 143 meters long, 24 meters long, and 16 meters long (this may require tying some pieces of string together), and then ball up these lengths of string. Also, you may wish to emailing Deep Earth Academy at email@example.com to request The Ocean Drilling Program in Film for your students to view later.
This activity enables students to estimate and calculate scales of distance and length as used by ocean drilling scientists. Correlated standards include National Science Education Standard E in Earth and Space Science and the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics Standard that students understand and use ratios and proportions to represent quantitative relationships.
Extra challenge: Using graph paper, design a scale model of the ship and the drill string while holding the paper vertically, or portrait style. Remember, the ship length (143 m), height (67 m), greatest water depth (5,980 m), and greatest depth below the seafloor (2,402 m) should all be in proportion to one another.
To learn more about the JR, visit http://iodp.tamu.edu/publicinfo/drillship.html. Check out the journals of Teachers-at-Sea at: http://www.iodp-usio.org/Education/TAS.html. And see Bubbas Tour, an on-line interactive game, at: http://www.oceanleadership.org/learning/bubba.