Lesson Plan—Diving with Gliders


Students will use the Phoebe Glider to explore the concepts of scale and slope. Using real-time data from the CMOP website, students will create tables and graphs.

Key Concepts


Include clear, measurable statements of what students will be able to do, such as:


Before the lesson:


  1. Introduce students to concept of gliders using voicethread with videos and graphics explaining gliders and ocean observing:
  1. Use google earth to fly into Astoria, OR and the zoom to actually glider track. Then show the next animation about diving.
  2. http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/images/uploaded/custom/glider3.gif
  3. This could be done from home if all students have computer access and have students comment on voicethread.
  1. Explore the Excel data together.  
  1. What data is the glider always recording?Why does some of the data have nan?  When does the glider collect data?
  1. Break students into groups, assign each group a set of data that has one dive and one climb.
  2. Have students create a table that will have 20 points.  Have students create a scale in seconds that will accommodate the entire dive, have students create a scale in meters that will accommodate the entire dive.  Make sure the data is on the poster.
  3. Have students graph time points and depth.
  1. What do we plot on the x-axis? Why?
  2. Group 1: shallow dive, Group 2: medium dive, Group 3: deep dive
  3. What is depth measuring? When the line segment is increasing which direction is the glider moving? When the line segment is decreasing which direction in the glider moving? Does the direction of the line segment match the direction of the glider’s motion in the water? why or why not?
  1. Calculate slope. (Because this is real data, it is not a perfect line.)
  1. Discuss the idea of a ‘best fit line’.  
  2. What does slope show? What is the unit of our numerator? What is the unit of our denominator? What does meters per second show?
  1. Have groups post their table and graph. Have students do a gallery walk and make observations comparing the different tables and graphs.
  1. Which graph do you think is the steepest dive? How can we tell? How does the scale change based on the dives? How does this affect how the graph looks?
  1. Show the graph of the data.  Discuss the similarities and differences of the students graphs (note the negative on depth!)
  2. Assesment: Have students write a paragraph reflecting on the glider and graphs.  Note any key discoveries, challenges and observations.


Additional Resources

VoiceThread https://voicethread.com/#home

Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction http://www.stccmop.org/

More resources on Gliders:http://www.mbari.org/earth/2010/resources10.html


-Graph in Excel.

-Use another glider from http://cencoos.org/sections/data/glider/index.html and graph both together to compare.

-Graph other data from the Phoebe data (depth and temp, depth and salinity, etc.) and calculate slope.

-Create the equation for the line and see if other points fit.  Discuss the best fit line.

-Calculate slope using 2 other points, and compare.

Got time?

If you have time before your presentation, it would be helpful for me for you to provide