Category Archives: demonstration (easy)

Update on freezing ice cubes and the temperature distribution in our freezer

After writing the blog post on sea ice formation, brine release and what ice cubes can tell you about your freezer earlier today, I prepared some more ice cubes (because you can never have too many ice cubes for kitchen oceanography!), and then happened to look into the freezer a couple of hours later. And this is what I found:

Isn’t that beautiful?

Top pic shows the ice cubes “in situ”, clearly showing the cold back wall of the freezer where they were sitting.

Bottom left pic shows a top view of those ice cubes and it is very obvious that they have been starting to freeze from the back wall of the freezer forward: The upper row of ice cubes in the pic has formed clear ice in the direction towards that wall and has pushed the dye forward, whereas the bottom row in the pic is still not completely frozen and ice cubes seem to be freezing from all sides towards the middle and not as distinctly from back to front.

Bottom right pic: The rest of the water I prepared for the ice cubes that I left sitting on the counter for future use — still looks well mixed, no sinking of the dye to be observed!

And with these exciting updates I’ll leave you for now, so start playing with your own ice cubes! :-)

Sea ice formation, brine release, or: What ice cubes can tell you about your freezer

Many of my kitchen oceanography experiments use dyed ice cubes, usually because it makes it easier to track the melt water (for example when looking at how quickly ice cubes melt in freshwater vs salt water, or for forcing overturning circulations).

But the dyed ice cubes tell interesting stories all by themselves, too!

Salt water doesn’t freeze

“Salt water doesn’t freeze”? Then how do we get sea ice in the Arctic, for example?

When freshwater freezes, the water molecules arrange in a hexagonal crystal structure. If there is salt (or anything else) in the water, however, the ions don’t fit into the regular structure. Ice freezes from the water molecules, and all the disturbances like salt get pushed in the last remaining bits of liquid water, which therefore gets higher and higher concentrations of whatever was dissolved in it. As those little pockets with high concentrations of salt get cooled further, more and more water molecules will freeze to the surrounding freshwater ice, leading to even higher concentrations of salt in the remaining liquid water. So the freshwater is freezing, while rejecting the salt.

Of course if you cool for long enough, also the last bit of remaining water will freeze eventually, but that takes surprisingly long (as you can try by freezing salt water in some of the cups ice cube trays and freshwater in others, for comparison. Also the structures of freshwater vs saltwater ice look very different and are interesting to look at, see how here).

“Brine release”

When the ocean freezes, this rejection of high-salinity water leads to interesting phenomena: Even when you melt it again to include all the pockets of high salinity water, sea ice will have salinities way lower than the water it froze from. This is because of a process called brine release. Since you are cooling the ocean from above, sea ice also forms from the surface downwards. This means that it is easy for the salty water to be pushed, “released”, or “rejected”, downwards, into the liquid ocean below. That ocean will then of course get more salty right below the ice!

In the picture below you see something similar happening in the left pictures. Instead of salt, I have used blue food dye for visualization purposes. In the top left, you see an ice cube exactly as it looked when I took it out of the ice cube tray it froze in, and in the bottom left you see the same one after I let it melt a little bit so the surface got smoother and it got easier to look inside (a lot more difficult to hold on to, though!).

Do you see how the top part of the ice cube is pretty much clear, while the bottom part is blue? That’s because it froze top-to-bottom and the dye got pushed down during the initial freezing process!

Stuck in an ice cube tray

Something else that you see in the top left picture is the effect of the ice cube being stuck in the ice cube tray as it froze: Pores filled with blue dye that had nowhere to escape!

Had I taken out those ice cubes earlier, when they had just frozen half way through, we would have found a clear ice layer floating on a cold, blue ocean. Maybe I should do that next time!

Checking on the temperature distribution of your freezer

Something else fun we can observe from the right pictures: Here, the dye was concentrated towards the center of the ice cube rather than the bottom! How did that happen?

My theory is that those ice cubes were located in an area of the freezer that was cooling from all sides (more or less) equally, whereas the ones shown on the left must have been placed somewhere where cooling happened mainly from the top.

So if you ever want to know where the cooling in your freezer happens, just put lots of dyed little water containers everywhere and check from which side the dye gets rejected — that’s the cooling side! Actually, I might check that for the freezer below just for fun. Would you be interested in seeing that done?

Now it’s your turn!

Let’s look back at the ice cubes I froze yesterday in the picture above. I’ve now written about a lot of things I see when I look at them. What else do you see? Do you think it’s interesting to use with kids, for example? I’ve used those experiments with first year university students, too, I think there is plenty to observe and explain here!

Thinking about the Doppler effect as of a boat sailing against the waves!

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this on my blog before, thanks Markus Pössel for reminding me of this great way to understand the Doppler effect!

Doppler effect, or why ambulances change their sound as they race past you

Doppler shift is everywhere, but it’s maybe not obvious how to imagine what’s going on if you think of sound waves.

But look at the picture below. Can you imagine the sound of those waves lapping against the shore?

Now imagine taking a speed boat riding out on the water. Can you feel how you are bouncing over the wave crests, and notice how you are meeting them a lot more often than when you were standing on the beach, looking out on the water?

Or imagine being a surfer, riding that perfect wave. You are staying with the same wave crest for a really long time, while in front of you creat after crest breaks on the beach.

Yes, the Doppler effect is as easy as this! As you are moving with or against the waves, their frequency changes. Totally obvious when you think about waves on water, right? But the same happens with sound waves, and in their case, a changed frequency means that the sound appears to change pitch. If the ambulance is coming towards you, the sound gets higher and higher, and then as it races away, it gets lower again. So now you don’t even have to look when you hear an ambulance, you know whether it’s coming or going! (Just kidding! Please definitely look out, anyway, and don’t get run over!)

Experiment: Double-diffusive mixing (salt fingering)

On the coolest process in oceanography.

My favorite oceanographic process, as all of my students and many of my acquaintances know, is double-diffusive mixing. Look at how awesome it is:

Double-diffusive mixing happens because heat and salt’s molecular diffusion are very different: Heat diffuses about a factor 100 faster than salt. This can lead to curious phenomena: Bodies of water with a stable stratification in density will start to mix much more efficiently than one would have thought.

In the specific case of a stable density stratification with warm, salty water over cold, fresh water, finger-like structures form. Those structures are called “salt fingers”, the process is “salt fingering”.

IMG_4233_sehr_klein

Salt fingering occuring with the red food dye acting as “salt”.

Even though salt fingers are tiny compared to the dimensions of the ocean, they still have a measurable effect on the oceanic stratification in the form of large-scale layers and stair cases, and not only the stratification in temperature and salinity, but also on nutrient availability in the subtropical gyres, for example, or on CO2 drawdown.

Over the next couple of posts, I will focus on double diffusive mixing, but less on the science and more on how it can be used in teaching. (If you want to know more about the science, there are tons of interesting papers around, for example my very first paper)

How to easily set up the stratification for the salt fingering process.

Setting up stratifications in tanks is a pain. Of course there are sophisticated methods, but when you want to just quickly set something up in class (or in your own kitchen) you don’t necessarily want to go through the whole hassle of a proper lab setup.

For double diffusive mixing, there are several methods out there that people routinely use.

For example the hose-and-funnel technique, where the less dense fluid is filled in the tank first and then the denser fluid is slid underneath with the help of a hose and a funnel. And a diffuser at the end of the hose. And careful pouring. And usually a lot more mixing than desired.

Or the plastic-wrap-to-prevent-mixing technique, where the dense fluid is put into the tank, covered by plastic wrap, and then the lighter fluid is poured on top. Then the plastic wrap is removed and by doing so the stratification is being destroyed. (No video because I was frustrated and deleted it right away)

Or some other techniques that I tried and didn’t find too impressive. (No videos either for the same reason as above)

But then accidentally I came across this method (as in: I wanted to show something completely different, but then I saw the salt fingers and was hooked):

Granted, this is not a realistic model of an oceanic stratification. But as you can see towards the end of that movie, that turns out to be a blessing in disguise if you want to talk about the process in detail. As you see in the movie, the salt fingers inside the bottle are much smaller than the salt fingers outside the bottle. Because, clearly, inside the bottle the warm water is cooled both at the interface with the cold water inside the bottle, and by heat conduction through the walls of the bottle, since the water is surrounded by cold water. The warm water that flowed out of the bottle and up towards the water’s surface is only cooled at the interface with the water below (the air above is warmer than the cold water). So this gives you the perfect opportunity to discuss the scaling of salt fingers depending on the stratification without having to go through the pains of actually preparing stratifications with different gradients in temperature or salinity.

IMG_9084

Self-portrait with salt fingers :-)

In my experience, the best salt fingers happen when you use hot water with dye (as the warm and salty top layer) and cold fresh water below. Salt fingers develop quickly, you don’t have the hassle of hitting the exact temperatures or salinities to make the density stratification statically stable, yet unstable in salinity, and it ALWAYS works.

 

IMG_9079

Double-diffusive mixing. Scale at the bottom is centimeters.

 

IMG_9054

Salt fingering in a tank. Scale at the bottom is centimeters.

And look at how beautiful it looks! Do you understand why I LOVE double diffusion?

P.S.: This text originally appeared on my website as a page. Due to upcoming restructuring of this website, I am reposting it as a blog post. This is the original version last modified on November 4th, 2015.

I might write things differently if I was writing them now, but I still like to keep my blog as archive of my thoughts.

Experiment: Temperature-driven circulation

My favorite experiment. Quick and easy and very impressive way to illustrate the influence of temperature on water densities.

This experiment is great if you want to talk about temperature influencing density. Although it doesn’t actually show anything different from a temperature driven overturning experiment, where circulation is determined by hot water rising and cold water sinking, somehow this experiment is a lot more impressive. Maybe because people are just not used to see bottles pouring out with the water coming out rising rather than plunging down, or maybe because the contrast of the two bottles where one behaves exactly as expected and the other one does not?

Anyway, it is really easy to do. All you need is a big jar and two small bottles. Cold water in one of the small bottles is dyed blue, hot water in the other small bottle is dyed red. Both are inserted in the jar filled with lukewarm water (movie below).

Using bottles with a narrower neck than mouth is helpful if you want to use the opportunity to talk about not only temperature-driven circulation, but also about double-diffusive mixing (which you see in form of salt fingers inside the red bottle in the picture above).

Isn’t this beautiful?

P.S.: This text originally appeared on my website as a page. Due to upcoming restructuring of this website, I am reposting it as a blog post. This is the original version last modified on December 2nd, 2015.

I might write things differently if I was writing them now, but I still like to keep my blog as archive of my thoughts.

Tides themselves don’t induce (a lot of) mixing, only tides hitting topography do. An experiment.

As you might have noticed, the last couple of days I have been super excited to play with the large tanks at GFI in Bergen. But then there are also simple kitchen oceanography experiments that need doing that you can bring into your class with you, like for example one showing that tides and internal waves by themselves don’t do a lot of mixing, and that only when they hit topography the interesting stuff starts happening.

So what we need is a simple 2-layer system and two different cases: One with topography, one without. And because we want to use it to hand around in class, the stratification should be indestructible (-> oil and water) and the container should be fairly tightly sealed to prevent a mess.

Here we go:

There definitely is a lot to be said for kitchen oceanography, too! Would you have thought that using just two plastic bottles and some oil and water could give such a nice demonstration?

Experiment: Oceanic overturning circulation (the slightly more complicated version)

The experiment presented on this page is called the “slightly more complicated version” because it builds on the experiment “oceanic overturning circulation (the easiest version)” here.

Background

One of the first concepts people hear about in the context of ocean and climate is the “great conveyor belt”. The great conveyor belt is a very simplified concept of the global ocean circulation, which is depicted as a single current that spans the world oceans (see Figure 1 below). In this simplified view of the global circulation, water flows as a warm, global surface current towards the North Atlantic, where it cools, sinks and finally returns southward and through all the world oceans near the bottom of the ocean. Water is transported back to the surface through mixing processes and starts over its journey again as a warm surface current. While in reality some part of the conveyor belt is wind-driven and many processes come to play together, a large part of the circulation can be explained by the water sinking due to cooling at high latitudes.

Conveyor_belt

Figure 1: The great conveyor belt. My sketch on top of a map from http://www.free-world-maps.com

This can be very easily represented in a demonstration or experiment.

Materials

What we need for this experiment:

  • 2 gel pads for sports injuries, one hot, one cold
  • red and blue food coloring
  • a clear plastic container to act as tank
  • a pipette or drinking straws to disperse drops of dye
  • dye crystals to show the circulation. Can also be drops of a different color dye.
Running the experiment

The container is filled with lukewarm water.  On the “poleward” end, we add the cold pad, the warm one at the “equatorward” end of the tank.

Blue dye is tripped on the cold pad to mark the cold water, red dye on the warm pad as a tracer for warm water.

overturning

Thermally-driven overturning circulation: Warm water flowing near the surface from the warm pad on the left towards the right, cold flow from the cool pad at the bottom right to left.

A circulation develops. If you drop dye crystals in the tank, the ribbon that formed gets deformed by the currents for yet another visualization of the flow field.

overturning2

Thermally-driven overturning circulation. In the middle of the tank you see a ribbon of dye, caused by falling dye crystals, being transformed by the currents in the tank.

Here is the video:

What observations to make

Besides the obvious observation, watching, there are a couple of things you can ask your audience to do.

For example, if they carefully slide their fingers up and down the side of the tank, they will feel the warm water near the surface and the cold water at the bottom.

If you have a clear straw, you can use it as plunging syphon to extract a “column” of water from the middle of the tank, showing again the stratification of red, clear, blue.

If you put little paper bits on the surface, you will see them moving with the surface current.

Can you come up with more?

Who can I do this experiment with?

Someone recently asked me whether I had ideas for experiments for her course in ocean sciences for non-majors. Since most of the experiments I’ve been showing on this blog were run in the context of Bachelor or Master oceanography-major courses, she didn’t think that the experiments were as easily transferable to other settings as I had claimed.

So here is proof: You can do pretty complex experiments with non-university level students. To prove my point, let’s go to a primary school.

IMG_3219

Me running the overturning experiment with a primary school class in 2012.

IMG_3214

The overturning experiment as seen by the teacher (2012).

Of course, you can adapt this experiment to different levels of prior knowledge. For example, in the primary school, I introduced this experiment by showing pictures of lions and penguins and other animals that the pupils knew live in warm or cold climates, and we talked about where those animals live. In the end this aimed at how temperatures are a lot colder at the poles than at the equator. This is the differential heating we need for this experiment to work. While this is something that I felt the need to talk about with the primary school kids, this can be assumed as a given with older students (or at least that is the assumption that I made).

With the university-level courses, one of the points that I made sure came up during the discussion are the limitations of this model. For example that we apply both heating and cooling over the full depth of the water column. How realistic is that? Or the fact that we heat at one end and cool at the other, rather than cooling on either end and heating in the middle?

Let me zoom in on something in the picture above.

IMG_3214_2

Curious features in the thermal conveyor experiment. Do you know what this is about?

Do you see these weird red filaments? Do you think they are a realistic part of the thermal circulation if it was scaled up to a global scale?

Of course not. What we see here is salt fingering. This is a process that is caused by the different diffusivities of heat and of the red dye. And while it is pretty large scale in our small tank, you cannot scale it up just like that when talking about the real ocean. And it is also really difficult to get rid of salt fingers for this experiment, in fact I haven’t yet managed. But I am open to suggestions! :-)

Another point that I would talk about with university-level students that I would probably not bring up with primary school kids (- although, why not if I had more time than just those 45 minutes per class?) is that ocean circulation is driven by more than just differential heating. Even when just considering the density-driven circulation, that is additionally influenced by changes in salinity. Put that together with wind-driven circulation and we are starting to talk about a whole new level of complicated…

But anyway. My point is that even primary school kids can benefit from doing this kind of experiments, even if what they take away from the experiments is not exactly the same as what older students would take away.

Discussion
As with every experiment, it is a lot easier for an “expert” to observe what he or she wants to observe, than for their students.
The left column in the figure above is taken from an instruction for educators and parents of primary school kids I wrote a while back. When taking the pictures I was aware that the quality in terms of signal-to-noise was not very good (and in fact people [i.e. my parents] even told me). In my defense: The pictures of this experiment I shared on this blog are all less noisy, and I even explicitly addressed and discussed some of the noise! But still, only when reading that article today I fully appreciated how difficult it might be to see the signal through the noise (especially when the speech bubbles in the picture don’t even point exactly to the right places!), and how distracting it probably is when I implicitly assume that students see the signal and even start discussing the noise more than the signal.

So what we see above are, in the left column, the pictures I originally shared in that manual. In the middle column, I’m showing what I see when I look at the pictures on the left. And then in the right column I’m drawing what people might be seeing when looking at that same experiment. No idea if that really is what students see, but looking at the pictures now, there is actually no reason why they should see what I see. See?
One indicator of the signal-to-noise ratio and of what students actually perceive as important can be found in the three little essays the primary school kids show in the picture above wrote after my visit in December 2012: Two out of the three explicitly mention that I used a yoghurt beaker as heating on the one end of the tank (while the third only refers to a beaker). Clearly that seems to have been a very important observation to them.
So what do we take away from this? I, for one, am going to make sure to pay more attention to the signal-to-noise ratio when showing demonstrations. And if there happens to be a lot of noise, I am going to make it a lot clearer which part of the signal is actual signal, and which is noise. Lesson learned.

P.S.: This text originally appeared on my website as a page. Due to upcoming restructuring of this website, I am reposting it as a blog post. This is the original version last modified on January 13th, 2016.

I might write things differently if I was writing them now, but I still like to keep my blog as archive of my thoughts.

Experiment: Oceanic overturning circulation (the easiest version)

“The easiest” in the title of this page is to show the contrast to a “slightly more complicated” version here.

Background

One of the first concepts people hear about in the context of ocean and climate is the “great conveyor belt”. The great conveyor belt is a very simplified concept of the global ocean circulation, which is depicted as a single current that spans the world oceans (see Figure 1 below). In this simplified view of the global circulation, water flows as a warm, global surface current towards the North Atlantic, where it cools, sinks and finally returns southward and through all the world oceans near the bottom of the ocean. Water is transported back to the surface through mixing processes and starts over its journey again as a warm surface current. While in reality some part of the conveyor belt is wind-driven and many processes come to play together, a large part of the circulation can be explained by the water sinking due to cooling at high latitudes.

Conveyor_belt

Figure 1: The great conveyor belt. My sketch on top of a map from http://www.free-world-maps.com (used with permission)

The experiment

Since the global conveyor belt is such a basic concept that we come across in many different contexts, it is very useful to have a good demonstration of what is happening in the world ocean. Plus demonstrations and experiments are always fun!

I here present a very simple experiment that can be used for many different purposes. In science outreach, for example on a fair or in a talk, to catch people’s attention and raise an interest in oceanography. In schools to do the same, or to connect the fascination of the ocean to school physics and talk about density, convection, heat. At university to do all of the above, as well as to practice writing lab reports, talk about the scientific method or the validity of simplifications in theoretical or physical models.

Materials needed

All we need to run this experiment is

  • a clear plastic container
  • lukewarm water
  • red and blue food dye
  • an ice cube tray and
  • access to a freezer.

Ideally we’d also have a thermos or some other kind of insulation to keep the ice cubes frozen until we start running the experiment. To prepare the experiment, all we need to do a half a day ahead is mix some blue food dye into the water that we put in the ice cube tray, and freeze the ice cubes.

Running the experiment

To run the experiment, we start out by filling our “tank” with lukewarm water. Let it settle for a bit. Now we decide for one end of your tank to be the “equator” end. There, we add some red food dye (see Figure 1).

overturning-ice-1

Figure 2: Tank with luke warm water. Red food dye added to the “warm” end of the tank.

Then we add the blue ice cubes to the “poleward” end of our tank (see Figure 3).

overturning-ice-2

Figure 3: Blue ice cubes melting at the poleward end of the tank. The cold melt water sinks to the bottom of the tank and then spreads “equatorward”.

The cold melt water from the ice cubes is denser than the lukewarm water in the tank and therefore sinks to the bottom of the tank where it spreads “equatorward”, pushing below the warmer water. This can be seen where the red water is pushed upwards and “poleward”.

Discussion

Of course, the processes at play here are not exactly the same as in the real ocean.

For one, deep water formation is NOT due to ice cubes melting in lukewarm water. In fact, melting of sea ice will in most cases not lead to any kind of sinking of water, since the melt water is fresh and the surrounding ocean water is salty and hence denser than the melt water. Cooling in the ocean happens through many processes at the surface of the ocean, like radiation into space and evaporation.

Heating is also represented in an extremely simplified way in this experiment. Heating in the ocean occurs mainly (with the negligible exception of thermal springs in the ocean) by radiative heating from the sun, and at the surface only. We “heat” throughout the whole depth of the ocean by filling the whole tank with lukewarm water.

Also, the mixing processes that, in the real ocean, bring deepwater back to the surface are not represented here at all. Our tank will eventually fill with a layer of cold water at the bottom (See Figure 4), and the circulation will stop once all the ice has melted.

overturning-ice-3

Figure 4: Blue ice cubes melting at the poleward end of the tank. The cold melt water sinks to the bottom of the tank and then spreads “equatorward”. Slowly, the tank fills with cold water.

Why use the experiment?

Even with all the simplifications described above, this experiment is a great first step in becoming intrigued by the ocean, and towards understanding ocean circulation. Seeing the melt water sink from the ice cubes is fascinating no matter how little interest one might have in the physics that cause it. Sliding a finger up and down the side of the tank lets you experience – feel! – how the temperature changes from warm near the surface to very cold near the bottom. Actually physically feeling this is a lot more impressive than just watching the experiment or even just being shown temperature sections of the ocean. And the experiment invites you to play: What if you added little pieces of paper on the water surface, would you see them move with the flow towards the cold end of the tank? Or if you dropped a dye crystal in the middle of the tank, would the dye ribbon that forms be deformed by the currents in the tank? And what if you added twice as many ice cubes, would the currents be twice as fast?

This is pretty much the easiest experiment you can imagine. If you are afraid of what food dye might do in the hands of your participants, you don’t even need to let them handle it themselves, even when they are working in small groups with individual tanks: just go around dripping the dye in and then add the dyed ice cubes yourself. While someone might still tip over a tank and spill the water, this has yet to happen to me. Especially since, before running the experiment, you will have pointed out that they need to make sure not to bang against the tables as to not disturb the experiment. And now apart from making sure that the ice cubes are frozen when you want to run this experiment, there is nothing that can go wrong. So why not try this experiment next time you want to talk about global ocean circulation?

Watch a video of the experiment here:

What would I do differently next time?

Next time, I would pay attention to which end of my tank will represent the equatorward and poleward side of the ocean. Not that it matters much, but in most graphics of sections through the North Atlantic, the northern end will be on the right side and the southern end on the left. If the experiment is set up the other way round (as on all pictures and movies above) you will need to remember to point it out (or even mark it on the tank with a sharpie or such).

Still scared of the hassle of running experiments?

And for all of you who hesitate doing awesome experiments because it looks like you need so much equipment: No you don’t. Here is a “making of” shot from how I did this experiment on my coffee table while sitting on my couch. The background is the back of an old calendar sheet, clipped to the back of a chair. And that’s it.

Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 3.41.24 PM

The setup for my experiment.

P.S.: This text originally appeared on my website as a page. Due to upcoming restructuring of this website, I am reposting it as a blog post. This is the original version last modified on November 4th, 2015.

I might write things differently if I was writing them now, but I still like to keep my blog as archive of my thoughts.

Experiment: Eddy in a jar

Rotating experiments in your kitchen.

Eddies, those large, rotating structures in the ocean, are pretty hard to imagine. Of course, you can see them on many different scales, so you can observe them for example in creeks, as shown below:

IMG_1266

Eddies in the Pinnau river, and their dark “shadows”.

If you can’t really spot them in the image above, check out this post for clues and a movie.

So how can you create eddies to observe their structure?

MVI_0698

Dye spiral caused by an eddy in a jar

I took a large cylindrical jar, filled it with water, stirred, let it settle down a little bit and then injected dye at the surface, radially outward from the center. Because the rotating body of water is slowed down by friction with the jar, the center spins faster than the outer water, and the dye streak gets deformed into a spiral. The sheet stays visible for a very long time, even as it gets wound up tighter and tighter. And you can see the whole eddy wobble a bit (or pulsate might be the more technical term) because I introduced turbulence when I stopped stirring.

Watch the movie below if you want to see more. Or even better: Go play yourself!

P.S.: This text originally appeared on my website as a page. Due to upcoming restructuring of this website, I am reposting it as a blog post. This is the original version last modified on November 27th, 2015.

I might write things differently if I was writing them now, but I still like to keep my blog as archive of my thoughts.

Experiment: Demystifying the Coriolis force

Mirjam S. Glessmer & Pierré D. de Wet

Abstract

Even though experiments – whether demonstrated to, or personally performed by students – have been part of training in STEM for a long time, their effectiveness as an educational tool are sometimes questioned. For, despite students’ ability to produce correct answers to standard questions regarding these laboratory exercises, probing deeper often reveals a lack of conceptual understanding.

One way to help students make sense of experiments is to use them in combination with an elicit-confront-resolve approach. With this approach, before the experiment demonstrating a specific concept is run, students are asked to discuss the expected outcome in groups. In so doing, should (specific) misconceptions be harbored about the underlying concept, these are elicited. Incorrect student feedback (feedback illustrating that a misconception is present) is not corrected at this stage. As the demonstration plays out, a mismatch between observation and hypothesis confronts students with their misconceptions. Finally, repetition of the experiment and peer discussion as well as discussion with the instructor lead to resolving of the misunderstandings.

Here, we apply the elicit-confront-resolve approach to a standard demonstration in introductory dynamics, namely the interplay of a rotating frame of reference, movement of particles observed from outside that frame of reference and the resulting fictitious forces. The efficacy of the elicit-confront-resolve approach for this purpose is discussed. Additionally, recommendations are given on how to modify instruction to further aid students in interpreting and understanding their observations.

Key words

Coordinate system, frame of reference, fictitious force, hands-on experiment, elicit-confront-resolve

Introduction

In many STEM disciplines, demonstrations and hands-on experimentation have been part of the curriculum for a long time. However, whether students actually learn from watching demonstrations and conducting lab experiments, and how their learning can be best supported by the instructor, is under dispute (Hart et al, 2000). There are many reasons why students might fail to learn from demonstrations (Roth et al, 1997). For example, separating the signal to be observed from the inevitable noise can be difficult, and inference from other demonstrations might hinder interpretation of a specific experiment. Sometimes students even “remember” witnessing outcomes of experiments that were not there (Milner-Bolotin, Kotlicki, and Rieger (2007)).

Even if students’ and instructors’ observations were the same, this does not guarantee congruent conceptual understanding and conceptual dissimilarity may persist unless specifically treated. However, helping students overcome deeply rooted notions is not simply a matter of telling them which mistakes to avoid. Often they are unaware of the discrepancy between the instructors’ words and their own thoughts (Milner-Bolotin, Kotlicki, and Rieger (2007)).

One way to address misconceptions is by using an elicit-confront-resolve approach (McDermott, 1991). Posner et al. (1982) suggested that dissatisfaction with existing conceptions, which in this method is purposefully created in the confront-step, is necessary for students to make major changes in their concepts. As shown by Kornell (2009), this approach enhances learning by confronting the student with their lack of an answer to a posed question. Similarly, Muller et al. (2007) find that learning from watching science videos is improved if those videos present and discuss common misconceptions, rather than just presenting material textbook-style.

In this article we look at how an elicit-confront-resolve approach can further student engagement and learning. This is done by using a typical introductory demonstration in geophysical fluid dynamics, namely the effect of rotation on the movement of a ball as seen from within and from outside the rotating system. The motivation for the choice of experiment is dual: the rising popularity of rotating tables in undergraduate oceanography instruction (Mackin et al, 2012), and the difficulties students display in anticipating the movement of an object on a rotating body when they themselves are not part of the rotating system.

 

The Coriolis force as example for the instructional method

On a rotating earth, all large-scale motion is subject to the influence of the fictitious Coriolis force, and without a solid understanding of the Coriolis force it is impossible to understand the movement of ocean currents or weather systems. Furthermore, the Coriolis force forms an important part of classical oceanographic theories, such as the Ekman spiral, inertial oscillations, topographic steering and geostrophic currents. A thorough understanding of the concept of fictitious forces and observations in rotating vs. non-rotating systems is thus essential in order to gain a deeper understanding of these systems. Therefore, most introductory books on oceanography, or more generally geophysical fluid dynamics, present the concept in some form or other (cf. e.g. Cushman-Roisin (1994), Gill (1982), Pinet (2009), Pond and Pickard (1983), Talley et al. (2001), Tomczak and Godfrey (2003), Trujillo and Thurman (2013)). Yet, temporal and spatial frames of reference have been described as thresholds to student understanding (Baillie et al., 2012).

The frame of reference is the chosen set of coordinate axes relative to which the position and movement of an object is described. The choice of axes is arbitrary and usually made such as to simplify the descriptive equations of the object under regard. Any object can thus be described in relation to different frames of reference. When describing objects moving on the rotating Earth, the most commonly used frame of reference would be fixed on the Earth (co-rotating), so that the motion of the object is described relative to the rotating Earth. Alternatively, the motion of the same object could be described in an inert frame of reference outside of the rotating Earth. Even though the movement of the object is independent of the frame of reference used to describe it, this independence is not immediately apparent. Objects moving on the rotating Earth seemingly experience a deflecting force when viewed from the co-rotating reference frame. Comparison of the expressions for the movement of a body on the rotating Earth in the inert versus rotating coordinate systems, shows that the rotating reference frame requires additional terms to correctly describe the motion. One of these terms, introduced to convert the equations of motion between the inert and rotating frames, is the so-called Coriolis term (Coriolis, 1835).

Ever since its first mathematical description in 1835 (Coriolis, 1835) this concept is most often taught as a matter of coordinate transformation, rather than focusing on its physical relevance (Persson, 1998). Students are furthermore taught that the Coriolis force is a “fictitious” force, resulting from the rotation of a system and that its influence is not visible when observed from outside the rotating frame of reference. It is therefore often perceived as “a ‘mysterious’ force resulting from a series of ‘formal manipulations’” (Persson, 2010).

In many oceanography programs, the difficult task of helping students gain a deeper understanding of these systems is approached by presenting demonstrations, either in the form of videos or simulations (e.g. a ball being thrown on a merry-go-round, showing the movement both from a rotating and a non-rotating frame, Urbano & Houghton (2006)), or in the lab as demonstration, or as a hands-on experiment. While helpful in visualizing an otherwise abstract phenomenon, using a common rotating table introduces difficulties when comparing the observed motion to the motion on Earth. This is, among other factors, due to the table’s flat surface (Durran and Domonkos, 1996), the alignment of the (also fictitious) centrifugal force with the direction of movement of the ball (Persson, 2010), and the fact that a component of axial rotation is introduced to the moving object when launched. Hence, the Coriolis force is not isolated. Regardless of the drawbacks associated with the use of a (flat) rotating table to illustrate the Coriolis effect, we see value in using it to make the concept of fictitious forces more intuitive, and it is widely used to this effect.

During conventional instruction, students are exposed to simulations and after instruction, students are able to calculate the influence of the Coriolis term. Nevertheless, they have difficulty in anticipating the movement of an object on a rotating body when confronted with a real-life situation where they themselves are not part of the rotating system. When asked, students report that they are anticipating a deflection depending on the rotation direction and rate. Contextually triggered, these knowledge elements are invalidly applied to seemingly similar circumstances and lead to incorrect conclusions. Similar problems have been described for example in engineering education (Newcomer, 2010).

 

The Coriolis demonstration

A demonstration observing a body on a rotating table from within and from outside the rotating system was run as part of the practical experimentation component of the “Introduction to Oceanography” semester course. Students were in the second year of their Bachelors in meteorology and oceanography at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Bergen, Norway. Similar experiments are run at many universities as part of their oceanography or geophysical fluid dynamics instruction.

 

Materials:

  • Rotating table with a co-rotating video camera (See Figure 1. For simpler and less expensive setups, please refer to “Possible modifications of the activity”)
  • Screen where images from the camera can be displayed
  • Solid metal spheres
  • Ramp to launch the spheres from
  • Tape to mark positions on the floor
folie1

Figure 1A: View of the rotating table. Note the video camera on the scaffolding above the table and the red x (marking the catcher’s position) on the floor in front of the table, diametrically across from where, that very instant, the ball is launched on a ramp. B: Sketch of the rotating table, the mounted (co-rotating) camera, the ramp and the ball on the table. C: Student tracing the curved trajectory of the metal ball on a transparency. On the screen, the experiment is shown as filmed by the co-rotating camera, hence in the rotating frame of reference.

 

 

Time needed:

About 45 minutes to one hour per student group. The groups should be sufficiently small so as to ensure active participation of every student. In our small lab space, five has proven to be the upper limit on the number of students per group.

 

Student task:

In the demonstration, a metal ball is launched from a ramp on a rotating table (Figure 1A,B). Students simultaneously observe the motion from two vantage points: where they are standing in the room, i.e. outside of the rotating system of the table; and, on a screen that displays the table, as captured by a co-rotating camera mounted above it. They are subsequently asked to:

  • trace the trajectory seen on the screen on a transparency (Figure 1C),
  • measure the radius of this drawn trajectory; and
  • compare the trajectory’s radius to the theorized value.

The latter is calculated from the measured rotation rate of the table and the linear velocity of the ball, determined by launching the ball along a straight line on the floor.

 

Instructional approach

In years prior to 2012, the course had been run along the conventional lines of instruction in an undergraduate physics lab: the students read the instructions, conduct the experiment and write a report.

In 2012, we decided to include an elicit-confront-resolve approach to help students realize and understand the seemingly conflicting observations made from inside versus outside of the rotating system (Figure 2). The three steps we employed are described in detail below.

folie2

Figure 2: Positions of the ramp and the ball as observed from above in the non-rotating (top) and rotating (bottom) case. Time progresses from left to right. In the top plots, the position in inert space is shown. From left to right, the current position of the ramp and ball are added with gradually darkening colors. In the bottom plots, the ramp stays in the same position, but the ball moves and the current position is always displayed with the darkest color.

  1. Elicit the lingering misconception

1.a The general function of the “elicit” step

The goal of this first step is to make students aware of their beliefs of what will happen in a given situation, no matter what those beliefs might be. By discussing what students anticipate to observe under different physical conditions before the actual experiment is conducted, the students’ insights are put to the test. Sketching different scenarios (Fan (2015), Ainsworth et al. (2011)) and trying to answer questions before observing experiments are important steps in the learning process since students are usually unaware of their premises and assumptions. These need to be explicated and verbalized before they can be tested, and either be built on, or, if necessary, overcome.

 

1.b What the “elicit” step means in the context of our experiment

Students have been taught in introductory lectures that in a counter-clockwise rotating system (i.e. in the Northern Hemisphere) a moving object will be deflected to the right. They are also aware that the extent to which the object is deflected depends on its velocity and the rotational speed of the reference frame.

A typical laboratory session would progress as follows: students are asked to observe the path of a ball being launched from the perimeter of the circular, not-yet rotating table by a student standing at a marked position next to the table, the “launch position”. The ball is observed to be rolling radially towards and over the center point of the table, dropping off the table diametrically opposite from the position from which it was launched. So far nothing surprising. A second student – the catcher – is asked to stand at the position where the ball dropped off the table’s edge so as to catch the ball in the non-rotating case. The position is also marked on the floor with insulation tape.

The students are now asked to predict the behavior of the ball once the table is put into slow rotation. At this point, students typically enquire about the direction of rotation and, when assured that “Northern Hemisphere” counter-clockwise rotation is being applied, their default prediction is that the ball will be deflected to the right. When asked whether the catcher should alter their position, the students commonly answer that the catcher should move some arbitrary angle, but typically less than 90 degrees, clockwise around the table. The question of the influence of an increase in the rotational rate of the table on the catcher’s placement is now posed. “Still further clockwise”, is the usual answer. This then leads to the instructor’s asking whether a rotational speed exists at which the student launching the ball, will also be able to catch it him/herself. Ordinarily the students confirm that such a situation is indeed possible.

 

  1. Confronting the misconception

2.a The general function of the “confront” step

For those cases in which the “elicit” step brought to light assumptions or beliefs that are different from the instructor’s, the “confront” step serves to show the students the discrepancy between what they stated to be true, and what they observe to be true.

 

2.b What the “confront” step means in the context of our experiment

The students’ predictions are subsequently put to the test by starting with the simple, non-rotating case: the ball is launched and the nominated catcher, positioned diametrically across from the launch position, seizes the ball as it falls off the table’s surface right in front of them. As in the discussion beforehand, the table is then put into rotation at incrementally increasing rates, with the ball being launched from the same position for each of the different rotational speeds. It becomes clear that the catcher need not adjust their position, but can remain standing diametrically opposite to the student launching the ball – the point where the ball drops to the floor. Hence students realize that the movement of the ball relative to the non-rotating laboratory is unaffected by the table’s rotation rate.

This observation appears counterintuitive, since the camera, rotating with the system, shows the curved trajectories the students had expected; circles with radii decreasing as the rotation rate is increased. Furthermore, to add to their confusion, when observed from their positions around the rotating table, the path of the ball on the rotating table appears to show a deflection, too. This is due to the observer’s eye being fooled by focusing on features of the table, e.g. cross hairs drawn on the table’s surface or the bars of the camera scaffold, relative to which the ball does, indeed, follow a curved trajectory. To overcome this latter trickery of the mind, the instructor may ask the students to crouch, diametrically across from the launcher, so that their line of sight is aligned with the table’s surface, i.e. at a zero zenith angle of observation. From this vantage point the ball is observed to indeed be moving in a straight line towards the observer, irrespective of the rate of rotation of the table.

To further cement the concept, the table may again be set into rotation. The launcher and the catcher are now asked to pass the ball to one another by throwing it across the table without it physically making contact with the table’s surface. As expected, the ball moves in a straight line between the launcher and the catcher, who are both observing from an inert frame of reference. However, when viewing the playback of the co-rotating camera, which represents the view from the rotating frame of reference, the trajectory is observed as curved.

 

  1. Resolving the misconception

3.a The general function of the “resolve” step

Misconceptions that were brought to light during the “elicit” step, and whose discrepancy with observations was made clear during the “confront” step, are finally corrected in the “resolve” step. While this sounds very easy, in practice it is anything but. The final step of the elicit-confront-resolve instructional approach thus presents the opportunity for the instructor to aid students in reflecting upon and reassessing previous knowledge, and for learning to take place.

 

3.b What the “resolve” step means in the context of our experiment

The instructor should by now be able to point out and dispel any remaining implicit assumptions, making it clear that the discrepant trajectories are undoubtedly the product of viewing the motion from different frames of reference. Despite the students’ observations and their participation in the experiment this is not a given, nor does it happen instantaneously. Oftentimes further, detailed discussion is required. Frequently students have to re-run the experiment themselves in different roles (i.e. as launcher as well as catcher) and explicitly state what they are noticing before they trust their observations.

 

Possible modifications of the activity:

We used the described activity to introduce the laboratory activity, after which the students had to carry out the exercise and write a report about it. Follow-up experiments that are often conducted usually include rotating water tanks to visualize the effect of the Coriolis force on the large-scale circulation of the ocean or atmosphere, for example on vortices, fronts, ocean gyres, Ekman layers, Rossby waves, the General circulation and many other phenomena (see for example Marshall and Plumb (2007)).

Despite their popularity in geophysical fluid dynamics instruction at the authors’ current and previous institutions, rotating tables might not be readily available everywhere. Good instructions for building a rotating table can, for example, be found on the “weather in a tank” website, where there is also the contact information to a supplier given: http://paoc.mit.edu/labguide/apparatus.html. A less expensive setup can be created from old disk players or even Lazy Susans. In many cases, setting the exact rotation rate is not as important as having a qualitative difference between “fast” and “slow” rotation, which is very easy to realize. In cases where a co-rotating camera is not available, by dipping the ball in either dye or chalk dust (or by simply running a pen in a straight line across the rotating surface), the trajectory in the rotating system can be visualized. The method described in this manuscript is easily adapted to such a setup.

Lastly we suggest using an elicit-confront-resolve approach even when the demonstration is not run on an actual rotating table. Even if the demonstration is only virtually conducted, for example using Urbano & Houghton (2006)’s Coriolis force simulation, the approach is beneficial to increasing conceptual understanding.

Discussion

The authors noticed in 2011 that most students participating in that year’s lab course, despite having participated in performing the experiment, still harbored misconceptions. Despite having taken part in performing the demonstration, misunderstanding remained as to what forces were acting on the ball and what the movement of the ball looked like in the different frames of reference. This led to the authors adopting the elicit-confront-resolve approach for instruction, as described above, in 2012.

We initially considered starting the lab session on the Coriolis force by throwing the ball diametrically across the rotating table. Students would then see on-screen the curved trajectory of a ball, which had never made physical contact with the table rotating beneath it. It was thought that initially considering the motion from the co-rotating camera’s view, and seeing it displayed as a curved trajectory when direct observation had shown it to be linear, might hasten the realization that it is the frame of reference that is to blame for the ball’s curved trajectory. However the speed of the ball makes it very difficult to observe its curved path on the screen in real time. Replaying the footage in slow motion helps in this regard. Yet, removing direct observation through recording and playback seemingly hampers acceptance of the occurrence as “real”. It was therefore decided that this method only be used to further illustrate the concept once students were familiar with the general (or standard) experimental setup.

In 2012, 7 groups of 5 students each conducted this experiment under the guidance of both authors together. The authors gained the impression that the new strategy of instruction enhanced the students’ understanding. In order to test this impression and the learning gain resulting from the experiment with the new methodology, in 2013 identical work sheets were administered before and after the experiment. These work sheets were developed by the authors as instructional materials to make sure that every student individually went through the elicit-confront-resolve process even when, with future cohorts, this experiment might be run by other instructors (who might not be as familiar with the elicit-confront-resolve method) and with larger student groups (where individual conversations with every student might be less feasible for the instructor). However, it turned out to be useful for quantifying what we had previously only qualitatively noticed: That a large part of the student population did indeed expect to see a deflection despite observing from an inert frame of reference.

In total, 8 students took the course in 2013, and all agreed to let us talk about their learning process in the context of this article. One of those students did not check the before/after box on the work sheet. We therefore cannot distinguish the work done before and after the experiment, and will disregard this student’s responses in the following discussion. This student however answered correctly on one of the tests and incorrectly on the other.

In the first question, students were instructed to consider both a stationary table and a table rotating at two different rates. They were then asked to, for each of the scenarios, mark with an X the location where they thought the ball would contact the floor after dropping off the table’s surface. In the work sheet done before instruction, all 7 students predicted that the ball would hit the floor in different spots – diametrically across from the launch point for no rotation, and at increasing distances from that first point with increasing rotation rates of the table (Figure 3). This is the same misconception we noticed in earlier years and which we aimed to elicit with this question: students were applying correct knowledge (“In the Northern Hemisphere a moving body will be deflected to the right”) to situations where this knowledge was not applicable (when observing the rotating body and the moving particle upon it from an inert frame of reference).

folie3

Figure 3A: Depiction of the typical wrong answer to the question where a ball would land on a floor after rolling across a table rotating at different rotation rates. B: Correct answer to question in (A). C: Correct trajectories of balls rolling across a rotating table.

In a second question, students were asked to imagine the ball leaving a dye mark on the table as it rolls across it, and to draw these traces left on the table. In this second question students were thus required to infer that this would be analogous to regarding the motion of the ball as observed from the co-rotating frame of reference. Five students drew them correctly and consistently with the direction of rotation they assumed in the first questions, while the remaining two did not attempt to answer this question.

After the experiment had been run repeatedly and discussed until the students signaled no further need for re-runs or discussion, the students were asked to redo the work sheet. This resulted in 6 students answering both questions correctly. The remaining student answered the second question correctly, but repeated the same incorrect answer to the first question that they gave in their earlier worksheet.

Seeing as the students had extensively discussed and participated in the experiment immediately prior to doing the work sheet for the second time, it is maybe not surprising that the majority answered the questions correctly during the second iteration. In this regard it is important to note that our teaching approach was not planned as a scientific study, but rather developed naturally over the course of instruction. Had we set out to determine the longer-term impact of its efficacy, or its success in abetting conceptual understanding, we should ideally have tested the concept in a new context. As a teaching practice this is advisable.

However, the students’ laboratory reports supply additional support of the claimed usefulness of our new approach. These reports had to be submitted within seven days of originally doing the experiment and accompanying work sheets. One of the questions in their laboratory manual explicitly addresses observing the motion from an inert frame of reference as well as the influence of the table’s rotational period on such motion. This question was answered correctly by all 8 students. This is remarkable for two reasons: firstly, because in the previous year without the elicit-confront-resolve instruction, this question was answered incorrectly by the vast majority of students; and secondly, because for this specific cohort, it is one of the few questions that all students answered correctly in their laboratory reports.

Seven students most certainly make for an insufficient sample size to claim these results have any statistical significance, and this discussion only scratches the surface of what and how students understand frames of reference. However, there is preliminary indication that a) students do indeed harbor the misconception we suspected, and b) that an elicit-confront-resolve approach helped resolve the misunderstanding.

Conclusions

In the suggested instructional strategy, students are required to explicitly state their expectations about what the outcome of an experiment will be, even though their presuppositions are likely to be wrong. The verbalizing of their assumptions aids in making them aware of what they implicitly hold to be true. This is a prerequisite for further discussion and enables confrontation and resolution of potential misconceptions.

This elicit-confront-resolve approach has implications beyond instruction on the Coriolis force or frames of reference. Being able to correctly calculate solutions to textbook problems does not necessarily imply a correct understanding of a concept. Generally speaking, when investigating the roots of student misconceptions, the problem is often located elsewhere than initially suspected. The instructor’s awareness hereof goes a long way towards better understanding and better supporting students’ learning.

We would also like to point out that gaining (the required) insight from a seemingly simple experiment, such as the one discussed in this paper, might not be nearly as straightforward or obvious for the students as anticipated by the instructor. Again, probing for conceptual understanding rather than the ability to calculate a correct answer proved critical in understanding where the difficulties stemmed from, and only a detailed discussion with several students could reveal the scope of difficulties. We would encourage every instructor not to take at face value the level of difficulty your predecessors claim an experiment to have!

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the students’ consent to present their worksheet responses in this article.

Supplementary materials

Movies of the experiment can be seen here:

Rotating case: https://vimeo.com/59891323

Non-rotating case: https://vimeo.com/59891020

References

Ainsworth, S., Prain, V., & Tytler, R. (2011). Drawing to Learn in Science Science, 333 (6046), 1096-1097 DOI: 10.1126/science.1204153

 

Baillie, C., MacNish, C., Tavner, A., Trevelyan, J., Royle, G., Hesterman, D., Leggoe, J., Guzzomi, A., Oldham, C., Hardin, M., Henry, J., Scott, N., and Doherty, J. 2012. Engineering Thresholds: an approach to curriculum renewal. Integrated Engineering Foundation Threshold Concept Inventory 2012. The University of Western Australia, < http://www.ecm.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/2161107/Foundation-Engineering-Threshold-Concept-Inventory-120807.pdf>

 

Coriolis, G. G. 1835. Sur les équations du mouvement relatif des systèmes de corps. J. de l’Ecole royale polytechnique 15: 144–154.

 

Cushman-Roisin, B. 1994. Introduction to Geophysical Fluid DynamicsPrentice-Hall. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 7632.

 

Durran, D. R. and Domonkos, S. K. 1996. An apparatus for demonstrating the inertial oscillation, BAMS, Vol 77, No 3

 

Fan, J. (2015). Drawing to learn: How producing graphical representations enhances scientific thinking. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 1 (2), 170-181 DOI: 10.1037/tps0000037

 

Gill, A. E. 1982. Atmosphere-ocean dynamics (Vol. 30). Academic Pr.

 

Kornell, N., Jensen Hays, M., and Bjork, R.A. (2009), Unsuccessful Retrieval Attempts Enhance Subsequent Learning, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 2009, Vol. 35, No. 4, 989–998

 

Hart, C., Mulhall, P., Berry, A., Loughran, J., and Gunstone, R. 2000. What is the purpose of this experiment? Or can students learn something from doing experiments?, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37 (7), p 655–675

 

Mackin, K.J., Cook-Smith, N., Illari, L., Marshall, J., and Sadler, P. 2012. The Effectiveness of Rotating Tank Experiments in Teaching Undergraduate Courses in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate Sciences, Journal of Geoscience Education, 67–82

 

Marshall, J. and Plumb, R.A. 2007. Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics, 1st Edition, Academic Press

 

McDermott, L. C. 1991. Millikan Lecture 1990: What we teach and what is learned – closing the gap, Am. J. Phys. 59 (4)

 

Milner-Bolotin, M., Kotlicki A., Rieger G. 2007. Can students learn from lecture demonstrations? The role and place of Interactive Lecture Experiments in large introductory science courses. The Journal of College Science Teaching, Jan-Feb, p.45-49.

 

Muller, D.A., Bewes, J., Sharma, M.D. and Reimann P. 2007. Saying the wrong thing: improving learning with multimedia by including misconceptions, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (2008), 24, 144–155

 

Newcomer, J.L. 2010. Inconsistencies in Students’ Approaches to Solving Problems in Engineering Statics, 40th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, October 27-30, 2010, Washington, DC

 

Persson, A. 1998. How do we understand the Coriolis force?, BAMS, Vol 79, No 7

 

Persson, A. 2010. Mathematics versus common sense: the problem of how to communicate dynamic meteorology, Meteorol. Appl. 17: 236–242

 

Pinet, P. R. 2009. Invitation to oceanography. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

 

Posner, G.J., Strike, K.A., Hewson, P.W. and Gertzog, W.A. 1982. Accommodation of a Scientific Conception: Toward a Theory of Conceptual Change. Science Education 66(2); 211-227

 

Pond, S. and G. L. Pickard 1983. Introductory dynamical oceanography. Gulf Professional Publishing.

 

Roth, W.-M., McRobbie, C.J., Lucas, K.B., and Boutonné, S. 1997. Why May Students Fail to Learn from Demonstrations? A Social Practice Perspective on Learning in Physics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(5), page 509–533

 

Talley, L. D., G. L. Pickard, W. J. Emery and J. H. Swift 2011. Descriptive physical oceanography: An introduction. Academic Press.

 

Tomczak, M., and Godfrey, J. S. 2003. Regional oceanography: an introduction. Daya Books.

 

Trujillo, A. P., and Thurman, H. V. 2013. Essentials of Oceanography, Prentice Hall; 11 edition (January 14, 2013)

 

Urbano, L.D., Houghton J.L., 2006. An interactive computer model for Coriolis demonstrations. Journal of Geoscience Education 54(1): 54-60

 

P.S.: This text originally appeared on my website as a page. Due to upcoming restructuring of this website, I am reposting it as a blog post. This is the original version last modified on January 24th, 2017.

I might write things differently if I was writing them now, but I still like to keep my blog as archive of my thoughts.