Outreach resources

This page has been put together to support our Schools Outreach projects. 

The first OTP schools outreach initiative is taking place in conjunction with the ‘South-North Atlantic Training Transect’ (SoNoAT 2019) an international ‘Floating Summer School’, where 25 young post-graduate marine scientists from around the world will spend a month on board the German Icebreaker research vessel, RV Polarstern, as she travels from the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic to Bremerhaven, Germany.  During their time on board, these young scientists will receive field training in oceanography, and will carry out short research projects with a focus on Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate interactions.  This Atlantic Transect floating summer school model has run successfully on two previous occasions, in 2015 and 2016, in a North-South direction, from Bremerhaven to Cape Town, South Africa.
During the expedition, we are engaging with partner schools in the UK, Germany, Ireland, and Japan, providing them with educational materials on ocean observations. Students will have the chance to communicate directly with the ship via live Skype calls during the cruise, as well as sending written or video questions to be answered in kind.  Schools are also participating in a design competition, with the winners sending their decorated polystyrene cups into the deep Atlantic as part of a 'remote experiment' to help them understand the effects of ocean pressure.

Once the ship departs from Port Stanley on 3 June, you can follow the expedition on social media via Twitter (@POGO_Ocean and @AWI_Media),  Instagram (@pogo_ocean and nf_pogocofe) and Facebook (POGO.ocean and AWI).

Please see below for some downloadable materials, and links to other resources, which we hope will be of help to participating schools and other interested parties.

SoNoAT Schools Outreach Project

Downloadable materials
  • A Powerpoint slide presentation about the expedition can be downloaded here: /sites/default/files/Resources/SoNoAT%20introduction.pptx
    • This includes links to YouTube animations/videos explaining ARGO floats (pitched at primary level) and CTD sampling. 
    • It includes speaker notes, to allow teachers to talk about the slides with students. 
    • There are a few ‘hidden’ slides which are probably too technical for younger children, but may be useful for KS3/4 (UK), or for teachers' background information
About R V Polarstern

The SoNoAT Floating Summer School is taking place on board the German Icebreaker, the Research Vessel Polarstern - the most important resource for German polar research and the flagship of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Commissioned on 9 December 1982, the Polarstern has since logged more than 1.5 million nautical miles, or roughly 2.7 million kilometres (as of 2014). Today she’s one of the world’s most advanced and versatile polar research ships in the world.

The Polarstern operates an average of 310 days a year, typically cruising in the Antarctic from November to March and pursuing research in the Arctic during the summer months. In the process, she covers ca. 50,000 nautical miles every year – the equivalent of two trips around the Equator. A veritable powerhouse, the research icebreaker can even operate in the pack ice zone: a double-walled steel hull and 20,000 horsepower allow her to easily break through 1.5-metre-thick ice; thicker ice can be overcome by ramming. Further, the Polarstern is equipped for sustained operations at temperatures down to -50 degrees Celsius, and can even overwinter in the ice of the polar seas.

Ocean Literacy & Lesson resources

  • The Argo stop-motion animation aims to inspire children (and adults) to engage with marine science. It is quirky, fun and informative at the same time. The animation explains what an Argo float is, how it operates and how all this data helps us to understand the ocean circulation and climate.


ATLAS Project education packs


ATLAS is an EU funded project with a focus on assessing deep-water ecosystems in the Atlantic.  Education materials include the following topics:

  • Animal, vegetable, mineral
  • Hydrothermal vents
  • Ocean Importance
  • Ocean acidification
  • Pressure in the deep
  • Taxonomy challenge
  • Threats to coral reefs

Encounter Edu designs and delivers sponsored STEM and global learning programs for use inside and outside the classroom. They are available to use by educators and students, free of charge.

IOC UNESCO Ocean Literacy Portal

The Ocean Literacy Portal serves as a worldwide one-stop shop, providing resources and content available to all, with the goal of creating an ocean-literate society able to make informed and responsible decisions on ocean resources and ocean sustainability.


NANOOS (Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems)
Ocean Colour

What colour is the Ocean? ALesson by NASA, which uses a simple spectrophotometer:

Ocean Currents

NOAA Podcast on Ocean Currents

  • Making Waves: Episode 123 is a 3 minute podcast which explains the three main reasons why we have ocean currents – Tides, Wind, and  Thermohaline (heat/salinity) circulation.
  • Activity 10 on this webpage (not NOAA) is an excellent classroom demonstration of how warm/cold currents work.
Ocean-themed books and stories

The Authors4Oceans website brings together authors and illustrators who are passionate about the natural world and preserving it for future generations.

Sea Change Project

Sea Change is an EU H2020 funded project that aims to establish a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea, by empowering them, as Ocean Literate citizens, to take direct and sustainable action towards a healthy ocean, healthy communities and ultimately a healthy planet.

Through its website, it provides a variety of ocean literacy resources for varous groups, including educators:

Lesson Plans


Smithsonian Ocean

The Smithsonian Institution's dedicated Ocean-focused website includes a number of resources for educators, including searchable lesson plans:



Virtual Tour of a Research Vessel

The R V Celtic Explorer is a 65.5m multi-purpose research vessel run by te Marine Institute in Ireland.

You can view an immersive 360 degree tour of the ship at this link:


Which phytoplankton are you?

Answer four questions to discover which of these diverse organisms is most like you!


World Ocean Day (8 June)

Official World Ocean Day Portal

United Nations World Oceans Day Portal:

World Ocean Day for Schools