Lesson Plan

Mapping the Deep-Ocean Floor

How do you create a map of the ocean floor without getting wet? Middle school oceanographers discover the process of bathymetric mapping in the third installment in a five-part series of lessons designed for seventh and eighth graders. The plan includes how researchers use sonar in ocean exploration, as well as an activity that tasks groups with creating their own bathymetric maps using Microsoft Excel.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Have pupils research other current uses of sonar technology and compare them with multibeam sonar
  • Take the lesson further using one of the additional mapping technology activities
Classroom Considerations
  • Create balanced working groups of three to four students
  • Schedule time in the computer lab to allow groups to make their 3-D surface charts using Microsoft Excel
  • The activity reinforces data handling and analysis by having groups use the data to create a map of an underwater volcano
  • Teacher's guide contains images and resources to help learners understand the advantages of sonar technology in map making under water
  • None