User Tools

Site Tools


Rubber Ducks demonstrate Ocean Circulation

Note: This is part 1/2 of a series ocean circulation and biology. See The life of an oyster for part 2.

Author Information

  • Name: Emily Kunselman
  • Position and Institution: Graduate Student, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Contact:
  • Available for contact for questions and classroom visits: Yes
  • Year contributed: 2020


  • Grade Level: K-5
  • Science Domain: Physical Sciences
  • PE Code: 3-PS2-1


Is the ocean moving? Waves break on the shore, but how does the rest of the ocean move? Almost 30 years ago (1991), there was an accident on a big ship traveling across the ocean. Thousands of rubber duckies from a shipping container fell into the ocean. What happens next gave oceanographers clues about how the surface of the ocean moves. The Rubber duckies traveled all over the world, washing ashore in Australia, Hawaii, the Arctic Ocean, and some got stuck in the middle of the Pacific! This lesson gives students an appreciation for ocean currents. The surface of the ocean can move in a circle, or through continental passages. They can move in opposite directions in different parts of the globe. This lesson is a great precursor to my other lesson on the oyster life cycle.


  • Ocean currents
  • wind
  • circulation
  • physics


sandiego/rubber_ducks_demonstrate_ocean_circulation.txt · Last modified: 2020/10/27 13:43 (external edit)