Oceanography Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Alexandra Owens

Alexandra has taught middle school science and has a master's degree in Math and Science Education.

Oceanographers explore the Earth's oceans, including the water itself, the ocean floor, and the plants and animals that live in the ocean. In this lesson, learn more about the field of oceanography.

What is Oceanography?

Have you ever walked along the beach, observing the shells, rocks, and animals that you find below your feet? Have you ever wondered what it looks like under the miles of blue water? If so, you have a mind of an oceanographer!

Oceanography is the study of the ocean, including the water, what's below the water, and the animals that live in it. Let's learn more about oceanography.

Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth.

Areas of Study

More of the Earth is covered in ocean than in land, which makes it a very big place to explore. Oceanography includes studying everything there is to know about the ocean, and discoveries are still being made every day! We can break oceanography into three specific areas of study.

The Ocean

Over 70% of the Earth is ocean waters. When looking at the ocean itself, scientists explore factors like temperature, salt content, currents, and ocean levels.

Oceanographers actually learned a lot about how the ocean moves through an accident involving small duck bath toys! In 1992, a container of plastic ducks fell overboard into the Pacific Ocean and began traveling the world. By observing where the ducks turned up and washed ashore, scientists were able to map detailed ocean currents.

The Ocean Floor

If you were to dive below the ocean and swim until you reached the bottom, you would have found the ocean floor. Just like dry land, the ocean floor is not a smooth surface. There are mountain ranges, slopes, and even canyons. The deepest place on Earth is the Mariana Trench. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it is over 36,000 feet deep!

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