Lesson II Overview:

After fully understanding the concepts behind submarines, students apply this knowledge as they discover Alvin, the first deep sea submersible owned by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). Students learn how real world scientists gather information on the ocean floor as they gather information on hydrothermal vents. Hydrothermal vents are geysers located on the floor of the deep sea. Students view photos, movies, and websites to collect data on these vents and the life systems that they support.

  • Instruct students to go to this website and watch the video on Alvin. After viewing the short video, have them read the material provided by NOAA. Use the question form for them to record information on the vehicle, its history and purpose.
    Explorer Website
  • After answering the questions, students become familiar with the term hydrothermal vents. Review the general concept of plate tectonics. For further clarification, have students visit this site to more fully understand how plate tectonics plays a part in the formation of these vents.
    Plate Tectonics Website
  • Tell the students that this site describes the vents and the organisms supported by these vents. It also points out just why it is so important for scientists to study these vents.
    Hydrothermal Vents
  • Tell students that they will be reading about a scientist who went on a mission in Alvin to observe under-sea hydrothermal vents. As they read about the mission, have them take careful Lab Notes on the mission describing the discovery and detailing the life forms in the location of the vents.
    Dive Mission Website


Students are welcome to email a scientist on the mission to ask any questions that they might have. The address is: [email protected]


Educational Materials authored by Laura Richter

Webdesign: jerveydesign