Earth Science Week Classroom Activities

Drill Site Dilemma

Consortium for OceanLeadership

Activity Source:

Consortium for Ocean Leadership. Adapted with permission.

For teacher:

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is an international research program that explores the history and structure of Earth as recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks. It seeks to expand the reach of several previous programs by a collaborative union between the United States, Japan, and the European Union.

The JOIDES Resolution is the research vessel that is operated by the United States. Scientists from all over the world participate in expeditions investigating the principal science themes for IODP—the deep biosphere and the sub-seafloor ocean, environmental change, processes and their effects and solid earth cycles and geodynamics.

This activity gives your students a glimpse at the difficulty of seafloor surveying, as well as the challenges the JOIDES Resolution faces during each expedition. Your students also will learn about latitude and longitude and plotting coordinates.

The game board grid ( soon) is 5 inches by 5 inches, but encourage your students to feel free to create their own larger grids with as many spots as they’d like. Developed by Nicole Kurtz, education officer of IODP Expedition 34, this is a two-player game.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Paper


For students:

  1. Go online to [coming soon] for the game board and more information.

  2. You and another player each can print up a grid and a pack of JR Ocean Drilling Markers. The object of the activity is to get all of your opponent’s drill sites.

  3. Drill and dilemma sites have already been decided for you, but feel free to come up with some of your own to add more challenges. Take turns calling out a coordinate to see if you’ve “hit” one of the drill sites on the other person’s chart. Use the JR Ocean Drilling Markers to indicate the correctly guessed spots, and place an “X” on the incorrect areas.

  4. Practice plotting coordinates. Think of the many challenges of ocean drilling research. Develop your understanding of seafloor survey and topographical maps!