Note to the Teacher:This unit is for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ONLY, and is suggested for EARTH SCIENCE, OCEANOGRAPHY, AND WORLD HISTORY. Requires some efforts on the teacher's part in the area of creativity and additional background knowledge.


History and Oceanography

SUBTOPIC: Parallels in Oceanography 


The students will:

1) identify the accomplishments in oceanography from 17-19th century

2) construct a time line with the scientists in chronological order

3) discuss the parallels of oceanographic contributions with those in other areas of science or history

Background Information

Many important discoveries were part of the vast oceanographic history. It is essential that the students learn about the contributions these discoverers made. For additional historical information, please refer to Attachments A and B.


The Time Line
            1-2 periods



1) Supply students with the History of Oceanography provided in attachment A. Either present the information in a lecture, write it on the chalkboard, or make it into a transparency to be shown on the overhead projector.

2) Upon completion of this study, have the students add the four selected voyages (see attachment B) to their time lines.

4) Using brainstorming, have students list the names of any of these persons they recognize from any other class. Discuss other roles these scientists played or other discoveries they have made.


Cowen, Robert C. Frontiers of the Sea: The Story of Oceanographic Exploration. New York: Doubleday, 1960.

Deacon, Margaret. Scientists and the Sea 1650-1900: A Study of Marine Science. New York: Academic Press, 1971.

Ross, David A. Introduction to Oceanography. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1988.

Schlee, Susan. The Edge of an Unfamiliar World: A History of Oceanography. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1973.

Thurman, Harold V. Introductory to Oceanography. Columbus: Merrill, 1988.

Weyl, Peter K. Oceanography: An Introduction to the Marine Environment. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1970.